John Obi Mikel has alleged that Eden Hazard, his former Chelsea teammate, turned down a lucrative offer from a Saudi Pro League club before retiring last month.
The 32-year-old disclosed this information after being released from Real Madrid, concluding a stint marked by injury setbacks.
Following his departure from the Bernabeu, Eden Hazard was rumored to have attracted interest from several Premier League clubs. Mikel, who shared the pitch with the Belgian for five years at Stamford Bridge, unveiled that offers also arrived from the Middle East.
“Hazard asked, ‘Should I go to Saudi Arabia, where I’m going to take a million a week and then what?'” Mikel revealed on Rio Ferdinand’s Vibe with Five YouTube show. ‘”I got about two or three offers to go to Saudi Arabia. He said, ‘Mikel, I’ve got a lot of money. You know how I live my life. I don’t spend too much money. So, I have money now to live with my family and to bring up [my children].'”
Had Hazard accepted, he would have joined the ranks of players like Karim Benzema, Neymar, and other former European football greats in the league last summer. However, he chose to conclude a career that peaked during his seven-year tenure in west London.
“You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time,” Eden Hazard wrote in a comprehensive Instagram message announcing his retirement.
“After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer. I was able to realize my dream, I have played and had fun on many pitches around the world. During my career, I was lucky to meet great managers, coaches, and teammates – thank you to everyone for these great times, I will miss you all.”
Eden Hazard contributed significantly to Chelsea’s success, aiding in securing two Premier League titles, a League Cup, FA Cup, and two Europa Leagues, and earning the PFA Player of the Year award in 2015.
“He achieved all that he achieved without putting in effort; imagine if he did,” Mikel added. “This guy comes to training and he doesn’t tie his boots up; he just stands there with his hands in his pants.”