It is 30th May 2019, Maurizio Sarri’s beleaguered Chelsea have clinched a 4-1 victory over Arsenal to lift the Europa League in Baku, Azerbaijan. It’s the only piece of silverware for the West London club this season. The all English European final was settled in the second half as the Blues talisman Eden Hazard scored two and set up one. It also marked the Belgian attacker’s last appearance in a Chelsea shirt. After seven seasons at Stamford Bridge, Hazard is moving to Real Madrid to live his childhood dream in a record-breaking English transfer fee of $130 million.
There are only a few footballers in the world who have been able to draw comparisons to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the last decade and Eden Hazard is certainly one of them. The 28-year-old is widely considered as one of the best players in the world. Hazard is known for his creativity, speed, agility, movement, dribbling, finishing and superb vision.
Since his arrival at Stamford Bridge from French side Lille in 2012, the London based club has won the Premier League and Europa League twice, the FA Cup and League Cup. Hazard’s “flair and tricky” style of play has entertained the fans since his first season with the club. Hazard came to Chelsea as a talented 21-year-old and matured into a world class player.
At Chelsea, Hazard was primarily utilised as a left winger, a position which enables him to cut into the centre and strike on goal with his stronger right foot. However, he is a versatile attacker and has also been deployed as a second striker, as a lone striker, or even as a false-9 on occasions. Beyond his speed, creativity, skills, technical ability, and offensive qualities, he is also an accurate penalty and set-piece taker.
The Belgian has received coveted awards like the PFA Young Player of the Year, PFA Player of the Year, PL Playmaker of the Season, he has also been named in four PFA Team of the Season. The 28-year-old has scored 110 goals and provided 92 assists in 352 appearances for Chelsea. His impact in the English game has been so significant that he is regarded as the best Premier League player in the last decade and his transfer to Real Madrid is Premier Leagues biggest loss since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Manchester United to the Spanish capital in 2009.
In his time at Stamford Bridge, Hazard has played under six different managers and has been directly involved in more than 20+ goals every season but one. This season alone, the Belgian captain has scored 21 goals and provided 15 assists, thus becoming the only Chelsea player since Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba to be directly involved in more than 30 goals in a season.
Despite being played more often than not in an unfamiliar false 9 position this season, Hazard has managed to deliver 16 goals and 15 assists in the league, dealing with an ineffective midfield, sterile football, fan backlash and an absence of offensive firepower along the way. This is not to mention the speculation that has surrounded his future since the beginning of the season. Hazard, as seen on Football Kit News, was used to model Chelsea’s new 19/20 kit- a tribute to their Stamford Bridge ground, but will be instead donning Real Madrid’s famous white strip next season”
His move to Real Madrid will be a massive boost for the Los Blancos as they aim to rebuild the squad after a horrid season. Zinedine Zidane will build his team around Hazard in his favoured 4-3-3 system which will also accommodate new signing Luca Jovic. However, the biggest challenge for Hazard will be to fill the big shoes of Ronaldo. The Bernabeu faithful are quite notorious when it comes to patients, Hazard has to adapt quickly to the Spanish game to cope up with the pressure that comes from being the star among a team full of galacticos. There is no doubt about Hazard’s quality, it’s only about how he deals with the pressure of being Real Madrid’s costliest acquisition.