2015 Premier League Player of the Year, 2018 World Cup Silver Ball winner, 2011 and 2012 Ligue 1 Player of the Year, Eden Hazard has some astonishing individual honours to his name. However, the Belgian has so much more to his game than just honours and individual achievements. Hazard is a pure joy to watch and he enjoys playing the game as much as the fans love watching him dribble past defenders and create something from nothing. However, when you join the biggest club in the world and occupy the legendary number 7 jersey of Real Madrid you are expected to provide the best performances at the biggest of stages and Hazard hasn’t filled the space left by Ronaldo yet.
Analysing Eden Hazard’s first season at Real Madrid
Los Blancos acquired the services of the Belgian International last summer for a reported $113 million making him the most expensive player in Madrid’s history beating the $103 million paid for fellow winger Gareth Bale in 2013. Hazard has made it no secret over the years that his dream club is Real Madrid and one day wishes to play for them. With Zinedine Zidane at the helm Hazard got the golden opportunity to play under his childhood idol and for his dream club. The Belgian Captain acquired the number 7 previously worn by the club’s greatest player, Cristiano Ronaldo. The general feeling at the time was that Hazard would replace Ronaldo. However, replicating what the Portuguese has done at Madrid is no easy task.
Slow Start to Life at Madrid
Hazard certainly didn’t have the start he wanted at Madrid. The Belgian himself admitted that he was overweight when he signed for Real Madrid. “If I’m on a vacation, I’m on a vacation. In the summer I was like 80 kilograms, but I lost it in 10 days’‘ Hazard revealed. He may have found his physical shape back but Madridistas certainly haven’t witnessed the magical touch he had at Chelsea yet. Eden looked a completely different player in the pre-season games and missed the start of La Liga due to a hamstring injury. Hazard was one of the worst players in Madrid ‘s shambolic performance in the 3-0 loss to Paris Saint Germain. Hazard scored against Granada in a 4-2 win in early October, his only victim until now in Real Madrid colours. Hazard provided his best performance for Los Blancos in the following matches. Although he didn’t get a second goal his growing confidence could be seen in the fact that he was dribbling like his self, creating chances, earning penalties, and providing assists. He delivered probably his best performance for Madrid against Paris Saint Germain providing a superb solo run for Real’s first goal.
Just as it seemed that Hazard was finally finding his feet at Real, his fellow Belgian Thomas Meunier injured him, and Hazard had to be carried off the pitch. The initial reaction was that he would be out for just 10 days, but further tests revealed that he would be out for an extended period and had to wait 17 games to make a return from injury only to be injured again just after ten days. Hazard missed both Clasicos during this period as well as the 2-1 loss to Manchester City in the Round of 16 tie in the Champions League. Since football has restarted after the break due to coronavirus pandemic Hazard has looked sharper and fitter, although his search for that much-awaited second goal for Real Madrid still goes on.
What next for Hazard?
Madrid have all but secured their 34th league title and this can be clinched in their next match against Villarreal. Real have a bleak chance of going through to the Champions League Quarter-Finals due to having to carry a 2-1 deficit against Manchester City to the Etihad Stadium. The former Chelsea man would be expected to step up on the big stage if Real Madrid are to advance further in the competition. With no big signings expected to be made by Florentino Perez next season Hazard has another golden opportunity next season to justify his price tag and win over the Bernabeu faithful just like his fellow Belgian International Thibaut Courtois did after his own disappointments in his first season with Real. Hazard is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world when he is at his best and although he has taken some time to settle into a new club along with multiple other problems, the Belgian has the ability to make a difference at Real Madrid and achieve glory for years to come.
Hazard’s future still has promise, but he cannot continue his current form. Hazard was brought to Madrid to fill Ronaldo’s shoes, and he definitely not done that. Fans have seen what the Belgian can do, and if he is able to reach this level once again he will be a star at Madrid. However, if he continues as he is currently, Hazard could be a complete flop.