Ranging from bad diets to unhealthy lifestyles and injuries, the career of one of the most touted prospects to clinch the Ballon D’or, Eden Hazard, seems to be going down the drain after further dropping down the pecking order in Real Madrid’s attack. What happened?
A Meteoric Rise
The Belgian star rose to stardom in France, made his debut for Lille at just 16, and was quick to keep the French football game at his feet with impressive displays and decisive moments.
In France, Hazard was named 2012 Player of the Year and became the second player in French football history to win the accolade two years running – this came after picking up back-to-back Young Player of the Year awards in 2009 and 2010.
In 2011, he also helped guide Lille to their first league championship since 1954, while 17 goals this season aided qualification for next season’s Champions League. All of these achievements within five years were enough to draw interest from the best teams across Europe as Real Madrid and Chelsea went at loggerheads to sign the impressive forward.
In 2012, shortly after Chelsea’s Champions League triumph, Hazard took to Twitter to express his desire to join the winners amidst several speculations with other clubs.
Chelsea initially declined Hazard’s viral post, but eventually secured his services in a deal worth around 32 million euros – a fair price for young talent as skillful as that.
Hazard, who can feature on any side of the attack, rose to the challenge in the London outfit and eventually cemented his name as one of the all-time greats to grace the club. In 352 games for the Blues, he scored 110 goals and helped the team win several accolades across Europe.
In his era, Chelsea clinched the Premier League on two occasions, the Europa League, the FA Cup, and League Cup once. He was voted Chelsea Player of the Year on a record four occasions.
Hazard’s combination of finesse of touch, balance of body, and burst of speed with great charisma brought comparisons to other football greats Lionel Messi and the unending rivalry debate with another trickster Neymar.
In a bid to fulfill his desire to win the Champions League and increase his chances of becoming a Ballon D’or winner at some point in his career, Hazard opted to leave Chelsea to join Spanish Giants Real Madrid.
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Hazard’s Steep Decline
Zidane, who was the coach when Hazard completed his move to Real Madrid, had earlier expressed his desire to bring the Belgian Demon to the Spanish capital as early as during eye-watering displays with Lille. Hazard’s signature was deemed to fit the shoes left by Cristiano upon his departure to Juventus, but the 130 million euros move, which looked like a win-win for both parties, has been a disappointment.
Hazard’s unhealthy start to life at Madrid made him culpable for several career-changing injuries. Hazard was well known for his trickery and ability to brace past defenders due to his low center of gravity, a technique which was only better by Lionel Messi. The Belgian saw his flair fade away and his injury records worsen as time went on.
Hazard’s fitness and injury problems have left him as a shadow of what he was. Since he arrived at in Madrid, the Belgian star has enjoyed success, with two titles in La Liga, a Champions League, and a Supercopa triumph to his name but individually has done little to nothing to help the team achieve that feat.
Hazard has managed to escape being scapegoated by the Spanish media and fans unlike Gareth Bale but was always linked to moving away from the Spanish outfit.
In the most recently concluded transfer window, Ancelotti confirmed Hazard’s inclusion in the team taking him off the market with the hopes of playing a major role in helping his team defend their titles:
“His plan is quite clear, he stays and he does it with a lot of motivation because he hasn’t had a good time in recent years and he wants to show his quality.”
Since the conclusion of the transfer window, Hazard has featured sparingly for Real Madrid with four outings so far and one goal in that process. It’ll be interesting to see how Carlo Ancelotti attempts to turn Hazard’s career around after the public words of affirmation.