Former Chelsea star Eden Hazard turned down a $1.4 billion-a-week offer from Saudi Arabia in the summer.

“John Obi Mikel has revealed the conversation he had with his former Chelsea teammate Eden Hazard after he received an offer from Saudi Arabia in the summer,” global media outlet Tribuna reported on Sunday.

The Belgian winger, who was born in 1991, announced his retirement from football on March 10. Once one of the English Premier League’s biggest stars, Azar’s decision to hang up his boots at the early age of 32 shocked the soccer world.

A former Ligue 1 club in France, where he was named league MVP two years in a row, Azar broke into the Premier League when he moved to Chelsea in the summer of 2012. He quickly became one of the league’s best ‘crack’ players, using his prodigious dribbling ability to trouble some of the Premier League’s best defenses.

After seven years at the club, from 2012 to 2019, where he scored 110 goals and provided 92 assists in 352 appearances, making him one of Chelsea’s greatest signings of all time, Hazard made the switch to Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 for a record-breaking €115 million ($164.7 billion). 아톰카지노

Real broke the club’s all-time transfer record for Azar, but soon regretted the move. Despite the astronomical price tag, Azar’s time at Real was plagued by injuries and inconsistency, playing just 76 games in four seasons. His offensive output was also very low, with only 7 goals and 12 assists in his Real career, earning him the nickname ‘cheat’ from fans.

In particular, Azar disappointed the club and the fans by not taking care of his diet, which was usually hamburgers. In the preseason, he returned with an enlarged body and was nicknamed ‘fatty’ by fans. As he grew heavier, his injuries became more frequent.

Eventually, Real ran out of patience and released him from the team in the summer of 2023, ending his contract by mutual consent. A free agent after his departure, Azar did not sign with any team at the start of the season and eventually announced his retirement when he decided to leave the field.

About a month after Azhar hung up his boots, his former Chelsea teammate Mikel, a Nigerian midfielder, came forward to confess that Azhar had received an offer from Saudi Arabia after his contract with Real expired.

The Saudis have recently been using their deep pockets to collect world-class soccer stars. Starting with Al Nasr’s signing of legendary striker Cristiano Ronaldo in December last year, many other star players have headed to the Middle East, including Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante (Al Ittihad), and Neymar (Al Hilal).

The Saudis also made a bid for Azhar, who is past his prime but was once a world-class soccer player, but the deal fell through after the player showed little interest despite the hefty salary.

“He had an offer from Saudi Arabia, but he told me, ‘I don’t need the money because I have enough money now,'” Mikel explained on his YouTube channel, according to the publication.

At the time, Azar told Mikel: “What’s €1 million a week, I don’t spend that much money, I already have enough money to live with my family.”

Indeed, Azpilicueta was one of the Premier League’s best players at Chelsea, earning a hefty salary, and at Real, he reportedly earned a team-high €600,000 ($842,000) per week. Having already amassed a fortune, the offer from Saudi Arabia did not sway him.

Meanwhile, after leaving the field, Azar revealed that he still doesn’t miss soccer and is happy with his post-playing life. He attended the 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony on March 31 and said, “It’s perfect. I’m enjoying life, my family and my children,” he said, adding, “I got what I wanted, and it’s a perfect life.” He did not regret announcing his retirement.