Eden Hazard has opened up about the challenges that marred his troubled tenure at Real Madrid.
Despite a high-profile transfer from Chelsea in 2019, the four-year stint at the Santiago Bernabeu fell short of expectations.
Hazard grappled with injuries and inconsistency, ultimately leading to his retirement from football in the summer after Real Madrid terminated his contract.
The ex-Chelsea star has acknowledged that Real Madrid was a club of immense magnitude, and he found it challenging to cope with the pressure associated with playing for such a prestigious institution.
Hazard said: “I’ve been a Zinedine Zidane fan since I was a child. The Bernabeu, the white kit… it has a charm that others don’t have. Real Madrid is special.
“Beyond that, I don’t think that I fit in. It’s not like me. It’s a bit of a ‘swaggering’ club, and I’m not like that. I also didn’t like the way we played if you compare it to other clubs. But, it was my dream. I couldn’t finish my career without coming here.
“I would’ve liked to do things my way and succeed. It shows that Real Madrid is bigger than anything else. It’s complicated to play there. Maybe I needed to train more. I also had the worst injuries at the worst times.”
The former Belgium captain also admitted that he struggled with a lack of desire at times while at Real Madrid.
Hazard continued: “They say I was a slacker,” Hazard said. “But I haven’t spent 16 years [as a professional] without training. The little games, the little runs, I was there.
“It’ true that some mornings I arrived without sleeping well, not feeling like it, no desire, and when it’s like that, I show it.
“With Chelsea I’d just finished one of the best seasons of my career. I said to myself, ‘now that I’m at Real Madrid, this is perhaps the last vacation I’ll be able to take.”
Hazard scored just seven goals and recorded 12 assists in 76 appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid after spending four years in Spain.
He was regarded as “the greatest flop in Real Madrid history” and “one of the worst transfers ever.” by Real Madrid supporters.