Exclusive: Former Coach Exposes Why Eden Hazard’s Move to Real Madrid Ended His Career

Eymael suggests Hazard's motivation waned after leaving Chelsea and highlights his aversion to rigorous training as key factors in his decline.

Dennis Onsare
Dennis Onsare

Last Updated: 2024-06-11

Louis Hobbs

6 minutes read

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Belgian coach Luc Eymael has attributed Eden Hazard’s decision to retire at 32 to the players’ lack of commitment to the game and his decision to move to Real Madrid from Chelsea in 2019.

Hazard, who played for French Ligue 1 outfit Lille, Chelsea, and Real Madrid and won the Premier League, Europa League, and La Liga during his 16-year career, announced his retirement towards the end of last year at the age of 32.

His career ended at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium where he recorded 76 appearances in all competitions.

In his retirement message posted on his social media pages, Hazard said: “You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time. After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer.

“I was able to realise my dream, I have played and had fun on many pitches around the world. During my career, I was lucky to meet great managers, coaches, and teammates - thank you to everyone for these great times, I will miss you all.”

Hazard concluded: “I also want to thank the clubs I have played for: LOSC, Chelsea, and Real Madrid; and thank the RBFA for my Belgian Selection.

A special thank you to my family, my friends, my advisors, and the people who have been close to me in good times and bad.”

Image Credits: CGTN Africa

Image Credits: CGTN Africa

Real Madrid Was Too Big for Eden Hazard

Eymael, who had the opportunity to work with Hazard in Belgium alongside other players like Axel Witsel and Christian Benteke and believes his decision to sign for the Spanish giants from Chelsea could have played a huge role in his decision to quit the game.

“Why Eden (Hazard) stopped his career and why he didn’t do well at Real Madrid, first of all, I think that Real Madrid was too big for Hazard, and I think his motivation was less high than when he was at Chelsea,” Eymael, who currently handles Aigles du Congo in the Democratic Republic of Congo told

The former Young Africans (Yanga SC) of Tanzania coach further revealed Hazard, who made his Ligue 1 debut for Lille at just 16, lacked discipline when it came to matters of training saying he could not be compared to players such as Al Nassr forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Hazard has always been a very talented player, but he is a player that is not like Cristiano (Ronaldo), like these types of players, like Ibrahimovic or even Olivier (Giroud), these guys here are a bit old but these players are very disciplined in matters of urging of life and in matters of training, you know, Hazard doesn’t like too much training,” explained Eymael.

“Unfortunately that is the truth, he is a very talented player and he had a fantastic career, a big respect for him, he is a very good person but that is one thing, in soccer when you reach a certain age, you need to work harder, when you see Ronaldo he comes the first one in training and leaves the last one in training, he is rich and doesn’t need any money anymore but he wants to show to everybody that he is still there, he is still hungry about football and I think even worse hungry about the game.”

Hazard Lacked 100 Percent Commitment as a Player

Eymael, who has handled several teams in Africa including AFC Leopards of Kenya, further stated Hazard’s dislike for training which he said could have slowed down his performance.

“I am not in Hazard’s head but that is my thinking, also he didn’t like to train, he didn’t like to train hard and more, and he didn’t want to be committed 100 percent, as a player you have to take care of your body by training through specific training sessions,” offered Eymael.

“If you lose motivation or commitment automatically you have a discipline issue, and automatically you cannot perform. And that is why you see the Hazard at Real Madrid and the Hazard at Chelsea was a big difference.”

Dennis Onsare
Dennis Onsare Sports Writer

Dennis is a seasoned journalist in Kenya with over 18 years of experience. Having started his career at Kenya Times Newspaper, Dennis worked for Standard Newspaper for nearly six years as a Sports Writer. At Standard, he was privileged to cover Kenya's national team Harambee Stars outside the country, the biggest of all being the Four Nations tournament in Cairo, Egypt. He also covered the U17 team in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.