Hazard bids farewell to ‘special’ Chelsea in classy goodbye

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With Eden Hazard’s transfer to Real Madrid complete, announced Friday by both clubs in a deal that could reach as high as $195 million, it was time for the 28-year-old to say goodbye to the Blues after seven years with the club.

Hazard joined Chelsea back in 2012 from French side Lille in a $39 million deal as a 21-year-old. He became a fixture at the club, making 352 appearances across all competitions and scoring 110 goals, plus another 92 assists. Hazard was known at Chelsea for his silky on-ball skills and his ability to cut in front wide areas, a vicious creative force that terrorized the Premier League with his magical moves.

When departing the Premier League club for his “dream” side Real Madrid, Hazard penned a lengthy and heartfelt goodbye to the club that helped him become the best in the world, posting the full statement on his personal Facebook page.

Hazard referred to the London club as “special” multiple times and noted how the fans helped him grow from a young player arriving from France into the world-class attacker he is today.

“I was only 21 when I joined,” Hazard wrote, “so I have grown up as a man and a player with all of you, you have helped me become Captain of the Belgium National team after all. There have of course been tough times, for the team as a whole and for me personally, this is professional football. However, football to me is about having a ball at my feet, playing games and enjoying every moment, we are lucky to play the beautiful game and this is always my advice to those who ask for a coaching tip! Play football and have fun! Even when we were not playing well, I tried to do my best and this has been thanks to your amazing support. That fighting spirit, desire and the refusal to ever give up is part of the culture here at Chelsea and it comes directly from you.”

Some players hope never to play against their longtime former clubs out of a love for the team, but Hazard took a different approach. He knows he’ll miss playing in London, and therefore wants to play against Chelsea as many times as possible in the future, not hoping to beat them over and over, but instead born out of a sheer desire to be in front of the Chelsea fans again.

“Chelsea fans will always be special to me and next season I will look for your results first,” Hazard said. “I hope that we are drawn against each other in the Champions League next season and every season so we can meet again.”

No matter what happens the rest of his career, Eden Hazard will be known as a special Chelsea player who made countless memories for Blues supporters on and off the pitch.