Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher disagree on Eden Hazard as Chelsea great slammed after retirement


Roy Keane has hit out at Eden Hazard for the way he ended his career, going against the mould of overwhelming positivity after the former Chelsea star announced his retirement on Monday. Hazard, 32, called time on his playing career just months after ending his contract with Real Madrid 12 months early.

It leaves a shadow over the final chapter over Hazard's journey as a professional footballer after his move to Spain proved completely disastrous. Having moved for over £100million - a price which rose to nearly £150million after Madrid's silverware in the past four years - Hazard only managed seven goals and less than 80 games.

Hit by injury and quickly replaced in the side by younger, more dynamic and fitter attackers like Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo, the ex-Lille forward never managed to get back to anywhere near his best at Santiago Bernabeu and went out under the radar and far from the top.

Keane, never one to mince his words, had to sympathy for Hazard despite gracing England for seven years at Stamford Bridge. "No [he didn't achieve what he could have]," he said on Sky Bet's Stick to Football with Gary Neville. "He was a brilliant player at Chelsea, but when he turned up in the condition he did at Real Madrid, it was not a good look.

"He’s a talented boy, but I find it hard when you see the condition he turned up in at Real Madrid. It’s sad to see because he was a talented player, but it just goes to show that when you are a talented player, talent isn’t enough. He just didn’t look like the full package in terms of his mindset when he turned up to Real Madrid. You can’t turn up overweight in your first pre-season at the club."

Hazard was never one to fully comply with modern-day pre-season and physical preparations, often turning up to Chelsea out of shape. It didn't stop him from scoring over 100 goals in blue and becoming one of the club's greatest players though and Jamie Carragher remembers him for his brilliance rather than the way he ended his career.

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"I think he was one of the best players I have ever seen in the Premier League. He was one of the best players in a World Cup when Belgium finished third," he explained. "I do think there is something about Barcelona and Real Madrid. For me, they are the two biggest clubs in the world and the best players always play for those teams. He just hasn’t done that last bit.

"You think about Ronaldhino when he went to Barcelona, what [Cristiano] Ronaldo did when he went to Real Madrid, what [Jude] Bellingham looks like he is doing now at Real Madrid. I think you elevate yourself to another level if you produce the goods at those two clubs, and he just hasn’t got there. In terms of the Premier League, I think he will be close to an all-time Premier League XI - I think he would definitely be in the discussion."

Hazard won two league titles at Chelsea after signing in 2012 from Lille. Having broken onto the scene in France as a teenager he lead the team to Ligue 1 success aged 19 with seven goals and eight assists, playing over 3,000 minutes. It was the start of an early career blossom that earned him the move to London and even more glory.

Despite impressive returns from his early years at Chelsea the sense that more was in the tank remained, leading to Neville calling for him to bring the numbers of a Messi or Ronaldo-type figure. Hazard responded in his final year in England, scoring16 times and assisting 15, accounting for over 40% of Chelsea's goals that season.

It is still his failure to truly cash in on potential that leaves Neville questioning his career overall, though. "I can’t believe a player that is so fit and so motivated having had a massive move, I always think there is something else wrong if they have turned up overweight, I just don’t see how that happens," he added.

"I always think about what happened that summer. I do always think about Real Madrid, it’s an unforgiving club and Manchester United can be. You look at United over the past seven or eight years, it has become a graveyard for players who have been top players, and I think Real Madrid can become that place."

Keane weighed in again, putting a damning final comment out. "I would say and you’ve mentioned the brilliant players in the Premier League era, I still wouldn’t be putting him in that bracket. I still think he played here for four years [Hazard spent seven years at Chelsea], and that is not long enough when you start to think about these other amazing players that have done it for eight, nine, ten years."

To Chelsea fans and many others, Hazard will go down as a great due to the way he played not only the levels that he reached. For others there was a desire to see him go even further and achieve more but that is largely not really what Hazard is about.

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