CHELSEA legend Eden Hazard retired from football despite being offered £1MILLION-A-WEEK deals by Saudi Arabian clubs, according to ex-team-mate John Obi Mikel.
The Belgian, 32, announced he was hanging up his boots last month after a 16-year professional career.
Eden Hazard announced his retirement from football last monthGetty
John Obi Mikel has claimed Hazard rejected £1million-a-week offers from Saudi ArabiaAction Images – Reuters
It came after a torrid four years at Real Madrid in which he continually picked up injuries.
Hazard played just 76 games across four seasons for the Spanish giants as his body regularly broke down.
Yet despite his fitness problems, it is understood he still received several lucrative offers from Saudi Arabia.
This was the reason some were surprised he opted to retire rather than cash in at the end of his career.
But Mikel, 36, who spent five seasons alongside Hazard at Stamford Bridge, has now explained the forward’s explanation for his decision.
Speaking on Rio Ferdinand’s Vibe With Five, he recalls Hazard telling him: “‘Should I go to Saudi Arabia, where I’m going to take a million a week, and then what? 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].”
He rejected Saudi despite many of the world’s biggest stars moving to the country – including Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Karim Benzema.
That was after he claimed a Ligue 1-Coupe de France double with Lille in 2011.
And despite a tough time in the Spanish capital, he still finished with two LaLiga titles, a Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
Announcing his retirement, he said: “You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time.
“After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer.
“I was able to realise 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.
“I also want to thank the clubs I have played for: LOSC, Chelsea and Real Madrid; and thank the RBFA for my Belgian Selection.
“A special thank you to my family, my friends, my advisors and the people who have been close to me in good times and bad.
“Finally, a huge thank you to you, my fans, who have followed me for all these years and for your encouragement everywhere I have played.
“Now is the time to enjoy my loved ones and have new experiences.
See you off the field soon my friends.”
Mikel has also lifted the lid on what Hazard was like in training during his time at Chelsea.
He claims he was so lazy, he didn’t even bother to tie his boot laces.