Hazard on mental setback: 'I had no confidence anymore'

Eden Hazard was once one of the best players in the world, but in the latter stages of his career, he went through a deep slump. The Belgian forward lost all his confidence, he revealed in a candid interview.

Hazard on mental setback: 'I had no confidence anymore'
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Eden Hazard's journey from a pivotal player known for his agility and ball-handling skills at Chelsea to a struggling athlete at Real Madrid encapsulates the unpredictability and harsh realities of professional sports.

In a revealing interview with Play Sports, Hazard shared insights into the personal struggles that marked the end of his career, including a significant drop in confidence that led him to request teammates not to pass him the ball during games. "It was at the very end of my career when I hardly played anymore," Hazard recounted, highlighting how the mental and physical demands of the game had taken their toll.

The decline began more acutely in 2019 after a match incident with Thomas Meunier, a fellow Belgian, resulted in a severe ankle injury. Despite the career-altering impact of the injury, Hazard held no resentment towards Meunier, recognizing it as part of the sport. "I broke my ankle. But of course, I don't blame him. It was a normal foul." He contrasted this injury with other challenges he had faced and overcome in his career, suggesting a mix of fatigue and accumulated physical wear as possible factors for why this particular injury had such a detrimental effect on his capabilities and confidence.

Reflecting on his decision to retire, Hazard noted, "I had no confidence anymore and knew I couldn't give what I used to. In my head, it was over. I wasn't myself anymore." This profound sense of finality led him to step away from playing professionally, culminating in the termination of his contract with Real Madrid last year, a decision that officially marked the end of his playing days five months ago.

Throughout the interview, Hazard's tone was one of acceptance and realism, recognizing the inevitable decline that athletes may face, often exacerbated by injury. His story is a poignant reminder of the mental resilience required in professional sports, not just the physical prowess displayed on the field. It also highlights the critical need for support systems for athletes dealing with injuries and the psychological impacts of declining performance. Hazard's openness in discussing these issues contributes to broader conversations about athlete health and well-being, both during and after their careers.