Eden Hazard to play in Gerard Pique's Kings World Cup

Former Chelsea and Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard will lace up his boots once again to participate in the Kings World Cup, due to be held in Mexico later this year, it was revealed on Monday.

Rio Ferdinand will also take part in the seven-a-side tournament, which already involves Zlatan Ibrahimović and Neymar, among others, although the ex-Manchester United defender's participation will be as the co-president of one of the teams alongside content creator Jeremy Lynch.

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Hazard and Ferdinand become the latest star names to enrol in the Kings League, the competition launched by former Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué in Spain at the start of 2023.

In addition to the league in Spain -- which counts on Sergio Aguëro and Iker Casillas as presidents -- a second competition, the Américas Kings League, recently started in Mexico featuring streamers, content creators and footballers from across South America.

The Kings World Cup will bring those two competitions together as part of a 32-team tournament which will also feature 12 wildcard teams from around the globe, with the winners earning a $1 million cash prize. It will be played in Mexico between May 26 and June 8.

Hazard, 33, announced his surprise early retirement from football last year after four injury-hit seasons at Real Madrid, who signed him from Chelsea for over €100m in 2019.

The 126-time Belgium international turned down offers to prolong his career, but has agreed to take part in the Kings World Cup as a player for Deptostra FC, a team ran by the Belgian streamer Céline Dept.

Ferdinand, meanwhile, will enter his own team called Five FC and preside over it with Lynch, whose YouTube channel boasts over 11 million subscribers.

It was previously revealed that Neymar will also part-own one of the two Brazilian teams involved, Furia FC, while Mario Götze, who scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup, will oversee Youniors FC along with German TikTok sensation Younes Zarou.

Ibrahimović, who played for some of Europe's biggest clubs during 24 years as a professional, was unveiled as the president of the Kings World Cup at the beginning of March.

The project is led by Piqué and looks to combine the best of football with video game-style rules in 40-minute, seven-a-side matches. There are periods when goals count double and short sections of the game when a dice is rolled to determine how many players should be removed from each side.

Teams are generally made up of amateur or semi-professional players, but the presidents of the teams also have the chance to bring in ringers. Ronaldinho, Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko have all featured in the past, while Aguëro, forced to retire prematurely due to a heart problem, often plays for his team, Kunisports.