As a professional football can be a tough and competitive sport. It can break you mentally and physically if you are not strong enough to cope with the hectic day-to-day routine. We have seen many examples of footballers who were brilliant but had to give up the game due to the pressure that came up with the game.
There are very few players who have made their name at the top with a smile. Eden Hazard is one such name who has played professional level football alike kickabout with the mates in the local mark. He dribbles past everyone casually and immediately starts joking around as if nothing happened. Hazard has been labeled as the best player in his peak and mesmerized fans from the beginning of his career. Unfortunately, Hazard has not been able to reach his capability since his big-money move to Real Madrid.
In this article, we will find out about Eden’s journey from being regarded as a top player to his fall. Stay tuned:
Born in 1991 in Lumiere Belgium, to a footballing background family with his father being a semi-pro footballer, and his mother a professional. Eden’s love for football and his rise to fame was inevitable. He is the eldest son in a family of four boys. He started playing football at the early age of four for a local club, Royal Stadium. In his former coach Jose Authom’s word ”He knew how to do everything and used to do five hundred juggles when others barely did ten”.
The current Real Madrid winger started his career with youth side Tibi’s bran and it was in this club he caught the eye of scouts from French club Lille Fc. Upon agreement with his parents, the 16-year-old headed to France and started showing what he was from the start. His advantage of low centre of gravity, balance, agility, pace, technical ability, and ball control made him unstoppable on the pitch.
Hazard played 67 games for Lille scoring 9 goals and 12 assists and for his performance Hazard won the young player of the year award twice consecutively. Sadly, despite his efforts, Lille got relegated from the top flight before bouncing back a year later to the top tier. Upon being promoted to Ligue 1, Hazard was unstoppable. In the 2010-2011 season, he scored 7 goals and 11 assists in just 38 games which helped him earn his first professional title Ligue 1 and Coupe de France in the same year.
In addition, due to his performance throughout the season, he won the player of the year award which made him the youngest winner to receive that award at just the age of 20. Similarly the following year Eden’s performance just grew since he scored 20 goals and made 16 assists in 38 games. These stats had created a big name for him throughout Europe since clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United came looking for him.
Rise to the Top
Eden Hazard moved to Chelsea in the 2012-2013 season for 32 million pounds which was right after Chelsea had won the Champions League. He scored a goal and won a penalty in his first game for the club and formed a partnership with Juan Mata terrorizing the defence of the opponents. Hazard earned a huge fan base due to his entertaining style of play. Moreover, Hazard scored 23 goals and made 18 assists in his first two seasons. He also won his first major European title in 2014 after he helped Chelsea win the Europa League.
Hazard looked unstoppable in the 2014-2015 season in jersey no 10 under Jose Mourinho where he won the first Premier League title. He also won Player of the season and finished 8th place in 2015’s Ballon d’Or ranking. At just 24 years of age Hazard was rising at a meteoric rate and on the run to become the next top dog. Sadly, the following season was not so good for no 10 after he struggled to score in 30 games and Chelsea finished 10th. Also, he fumed the critics after he made a statement saying ” It would be difficult to say no to PSG” in the same year when Chelsea had finished poorly.
Undoubtedly, Hazard returned to his form under Antonio Conte and showed the best goal-scoring run. He scored 16 goals and made 15 assists in 37 appearances. He was responsible for 50 % of the goals Chelsea scored that year. Likewise, Eden proved how good he was in his country shirt scoring 3 goals and helping Belgium finish 3rd in the 2018 World cup. As a captain Hazard showed outstanding performance in the midfield and missed out on golden ball only to evergreen Luka Modric.
Fall of Hazard
At this point Hazard had won two Premier titles, two Europa League, finished 3rd in the World cup and won numerous individual accolades. He was the hottest property in the transfer market. Eventually, an offer to buy Eden came from his childhood idol Zidane at Real Madrid. Chelsea decided to sell Hazard after Madrid offered 150 million pounds. There was a high expectation from Hazard looking at his fitness and performance.
However, Hazard did not look the same player as he was in Chelsea. He was labeled as a lazy player by the critics after seeing his performance at the club. He had also put on weight followed by injury and illness. He did win the Laliga title at Madrid but there was no great contribution from once a game-deciding player.
However, despite not performing well currently one cannot simply write off Hazard since we know how good he has been throughout his career. Also, with quality players around him at Madrid, one can only wait for him to bounce back to his prime in the coming days.