Eden Hazard could be the next Galactico to hang up his boots from professional football after Gareth Bale called time on his illustrious career four months ago.
Hazard has been linked with a return to Stamford Bridge, looking to pick up the scraps following an abysmal spell at Real Madrid, but hanging up his boots seems a more plausible option.
The former Belgium international completed his dream big-money move to Madrid in 2019 after seven glorious years with Chelsea, but his stay at Santiago Bernabeu has proven a nightmare.
Hazard has barely kicked a ball for Los Blancos, with the forward left to warm the bench after falling out of favour. But his recurring injury problems have also contributed to his limited playing time.
The Belgian has missed more games than he has played for Los Blancos, suffering at least 18 injuries in four years which has seen him miss over 80 games since joining Madrid.
By contrast, the former Lille man missed just 21 games during his seven-year stint with Chelsea, where he made 352 appearances, scoring 110 goals and assisting 92.
Hazard has featured just 75 times for Madrid, scoring seven goals and assisting 12 – a terribly underwhelming statistic for a player who was regarded as one of the World’s best during his days in royal blue.
The Belgian has recognised that his move to Spain has been a spectacular failure, but all he ever wanted was to prove his worth to the Madrid faithful.
However, even when fit, game time has been hard to come by under Carlo Ancelotti, with Hazard making just nine appearances in all competitions this term, contributing a goal and two assists.
The 32-year-old refuses to leave the Spanish capital with one year left on his contract, perhaps harbouring faint hopes that he could get a chance to revive his dwindling career.
He is not short on options, especially from Saudi Arabia, who are itching to dig deep into their bottomless barrel of wealth to lure him away from Spain, but to no avail.
Hazard retired from international football five months ago following Belgium’s underwhelming display at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
He is now seriously considering calling time on his career altogether when his contract with the Spanish champions runs out in the summer of 2024.
A sad end to a riveting career and the promise of what could have been
Hazard’s impending decision seems a plausible option, having won everything there is to win in club football despite contributing little or nothing to Los Blancos’ success.
The forward always had his heart set on a dream move to the revered Santiago Bernabeu. However, not every love story has a happy ending, and this was one of them.
You can only sympathise with Hazard. What seemed like a match made in heaven when he signed on the dotted line turned out to be one of the most disastrous deals in football.
His nimble footing, unwavering balance, body movement and bag of tricks up his sleeves made him a menace during his illustrious stay in the Premier League.
He was already revered as a football great during his Chelsea days and was worshipped by the Blues faithful. His move to Madrid was supposed to be a final push toward more – maybe even a Balon D’or.
However, chasing his long-term dream has ended in tatters, and perhaps calling time on his professional career at the club he has always loved could serve as a poetic ending for a man who was once famous but is now utterly forgotten.