·22 September 2023
·22 September 2023
Eden Hazard may have ended his Real Madrid career rotting on the bench but he took to the football pitch in one form before he was even born.
Carine Hazard reached the Belgian top flight at her peak and continued to play as a striker while she was three months pregnant with her oldest son, Eden. His father Thierry, like all three of his brothers, was also a player, but Hazard's mum would be the one to send an encouraging text message after each of her children's games.
There have not been many opportunities for Mrs Hazard to fire off any pieces of constructive criticism to Eden in recent years. Hazard endured four dreadful seasons at Real Madrid after moving from Chelsea for a fee that could rise to £142m.
The player and club were both only too happy to end the purgatory by mutually terminating Hazard's contract one year early this summer. Hazard confirmed that he wasn't planning to retire but, almost two months into the new season, the former Belgium captain remains a free agent.
Here's everything you need to know about Hazard's search for a new club.
Real Madrid's did not see much of Eden Hazard / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages
Doubts were raised around Hazard's commitment to Real Madrid before he had even made his competitive debut. The Belgian was never one to overwork himself in the off-season and attracted some sideways glances upon his arrival in the Spanish capital after some time away from the pitch.
Toni Kroos claimed that Hazard "let his career rest" after joining arguably the biggest club in the world but misfortune was also a significant factor. After a stellar fitness record throughout his senior career leading up to 2019, injury forced Hazard to sit out 71 games across his first three seasons in Madrid.
However, during his final campaign in the capital, Hazard made the squad for 52 of Madrid's 61 matches across all competitions - yet, Carlo Ancelotti only started him on four occasions. Midway through his final season in Spain, Hazard revealed that there was "respect" between himself and the manager but "we don't talk to each other".
By the end of his Real Madrid career, Hazard had failed to appear in a single clasico and completed 90 minutes just five times.
Eden Hazard has not retired just yet / Isosport/MB Media/GettyImages
When Hazard moved to Real Madrid for an initial sum of £89m in 2019, he became the sixth most expensive player in the history of the sport. Now there will be no transfer fee attached to any move.
Bundesliga upstarts Union Berlin have been in contact with Hazard's camp 90min can reveal. The capital club made their Champions League debut against the Belgian's former employers Real Madrid this season and have been opened to a new market of players in light of their stratospheric rise under Urs Fischer.
Union almost signed former Madrid playmaker Isco at the start of the year but failed to come to an agreement with super agent Jorge Mendes. Both parties accused the other of changing the terms of the initial deal.
Hazard is still very much in the exploratory stage of his search for a new club, carefully thinking things over after entering into such a disastrous partnership with his previous transfer.
Despite captaining his nation on more occasions than any other man in history, Hazard has never played senior football in Belgium. Growing up on the border of France, Hazard came through Lille's youth system but could make his belated debut in the Pro League this term.
Multiple clubs in his homeland have been linked with a move for Hazard but Anderlecht and Molenbeek appear to be the frontrunners - both possess the family trump card.
Thorgan Hazard, two years Eden's junior, signed for Anderlecht in September for £3.5m - hardly an insignificant fee in the financial landscape of Belgian football. The 28-year-old Kylian, formerly of Chelsea's academy, has been on the books of Molenbeek since 2022 but ruptured his ACL during the off-season, sidelining him for the foreseeable future.
The main concern for any potential suitor is the level of interest Hazard - Eden, that is - has for the project.
After he was freed from his manacles on Madrid's bench, Hazard pointed out: "I still feel capable of being a professional footballer. I've been resting for two or three years. I still have a bit of energy."
The beneficiaries of Hazard's replete energy reserves remain to be seen.