EPL: Hazard reveals player that convinced him to join Chelsea

Cole produced his best football during and after Jose Mourinho's first reign at Chelsea

"After 20 years as a professional, the time has come for me to hang up my boots", Cole said. It has been a dream come true, all of it.

Interestingly, after two decades as a professional football star, the 37-year-old Cole has made a decision to call it quit with the round leather game.

To be honest I was a little surprised to find that Joe Cole retired today but mainly because I'd forgotten that he was still playing.

Cole, a lifelong Chelsea supporter, joined West Ham at the age of eight and made 187 appearances, scoring 18 goals, in two spells, from 1998 to 2003 and 2013-14.

In 2016, the midfielder moved to the "Tampa" and spent three seasons in the lower leagues of North American soccer.

His stunning goal for England against Sweden at the 2006 World Cup will go down as one of his country's best of all time - one of 10 strikes in a 56-cap global career which sadly didn't live up to its promise (much like many among his talented generation, it must be said).

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At the global level, Englishman played in three world cups (2002, 2006 and 2010). "I don't want to single anyone out individually for fear of overlooking someone else", he said in a statement.

"He said Chelsea was a big club where you can win trophies every season. I hope I was able to do this for some of the fans and people who have watched my games over the years".

And with vast experience at the professional level, Cole now wants to shift his focus on coaching a professional club in the future.

He added: "I've been incredibly fortunate to have played with some of the very best players of my era and even more fortunate to call a lot of them friends. Those memories will live with me forever, as will the chance I had to share them with my family", he commented. I feel I can offer a lot as a coach and have really enjoyed the opportunity to undertake some of these duties with the Rowdies.

Tributes have been pouring in for the former England global and Hazard paid special thanks to Cole, reminding Chelsea fans that it was his ex-Lille teammate who convinced him to sign for the Blues in 2012.

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