Chelsea send classy tribute to Joe Cole after retirement announcement

Cole won every domestic honour during his time at Chelsea

Former Blues ace Cole announced his retirement from professional football today, bringing down the curtain on a 20-year career which saw him make over 700 appearances and score over 100 goals.

Cole said in a statement: "After 20 years as a professional, the time has come for me to hang up my boots".

Hazard said on Chelsea's official Twitter account: "I spoke to him before I signed for Chelsea. I tried to play and live by his advice every single day because being a professional footballer is an absolute honour".

"He said Chelsea was a big club where you can win trophies every season. A huge thank you to everyone who helped me on this path", - quotes the words of Cole "The Telegraph".

The Belgian has proven an incredible investment for the club, winning their Player of the Season award in four of his eight seasons in west London.

After impressing at West Ham, Cole made his England debut at 19 and went on to earn 56 caps and appear at three World Cups.

He won three Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge, as well as two FA Cups and the League Cup, prior to a move to Liverpool in 2010.

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Much was expected of Cole, and, although he starred at times, injuries stalled his progress.

Incidentally, that was Hazard's last season at the French topflight, but he left on the high as Lille ended the campaign with an UEFA Champions League spot after emerging third.

On the global stage, Cole was regarded as a member of England's "golden generation" which included the likes of Frank Lampard, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand.

But it was at Chelsea - under the guidance of boss Jose Mourinho - where Cole enjoyed most success.

The appearances dried up when he joined Liverpool as he played just 42 times in two and a half years.

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.

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