There’s no disputing that Chelsea’s little Belgian talisman has been one of the best premier league players of the last decade or so but he’s someone who does come in for some criticism, mainly from opposition fans. Following him reaching 100 international caps for the Belgium Red Devils despite being only twenty eight years of age, I think his status in world football can’t be questioned.
One of the main slurs we’ve heard about Hazard at times is that ‘he doesn’t score enough’ or he’s ‘inconsistent’ but I think it’s clear this is opposition fans grasping at straws, surely? The Belgian is a regular goal scorer in the premier league ever since signing. Nine goals in his first season was not bad at all for a midfielder aged just 21 and he went on to score 14 in the following two seasons and then 16 league goals in one season under Antonio Conte. These figures get thrown around and compared to the likes of Harry Kane, Aguero and other undoubtably brilliant footballers who do score more goals but there’s one thing to remember: Hazard is not a striker and how many midfielders or wingers are around in the premier league consistently scoring around the 15 goal tally season after season?
Another thing to remember is that Eden has played almost his entire career with the Blues under defensive minded coaches with Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, who are all notoriously cautious in their approach, taking charge of the blues. Despite this he managed to contribute hugely and be Chelsea’s main attacking threat under each manager which demonstrates his influence in the final third. Hazard currently has 13 goals and 11 assists to his name in the premier league this season giving him a combined goal contribution of 24 which can’t be bettered by any other player, despite missing out over the first four or five matches of the season following the World Cup. After scoring on his 100th cap for Belgium his record for the national side stands at 30 goals, which is impressive if you compare that to the likes of Raheem Sterling who has 7 goals in over 45 games for England and Roberto Firmino who has just managed 8 Brazil goals in 30 appearances. No matter what stage Eden Hazard plays on he sweeps the floor with opposition and puts in continuous world class displays but at times comes out with nothing to show for it following Belgium’s World Cup exits and similarly Chelsea over the years in the champions league but one man cannot be expected to carry two full teams.
One things for sure, Hazard will go down as one of Chelsea’s greatest ever wether he leaves in the summer or not and for me would easily walk into the clubs all time XI, let’s just hope Hudson-Odoi can follow in his footsteps! A few seasons ago it was ‘Sanchez is better than Hazard!’ Then it was Salah, Sterling, Mane and even Son and Martial but there’s been only one constant in the premier league over the last 5 years: Eden Hazard, a constantly brilliant, light hearted and genuine footballer who has to be rated as one of the best to ever do it. A mercurial attacker who oozes sauce and swagger with every touch on the pitch but remains a relatively quiet, but down to earth family man off it. Will he join Real Madrid in the summer? It looks likely, but will he go down a Chelsea legend? Certainly.
A man who has delivered endless glorious moments in Chelsea blue; That stunning curler against Liverpool a few years back, that other stunner against Liverpool just this season. From beautiful hat-tricks against Newcastle to man of the match performances against Atletico Madrid. An FA cup, a league cup, the Europa league and not to forget two Premier League titles and a Player of the Year award secure Hazard’s position as a winner (something certain players cannot claim to be.) The only thing he’s missing is the champions league and all we can do is hope that we see him lift it (wearing blue not white!)
Chelsea have reportedly turned down an initial offer of just £60M from Real Madrid for their star man and may choose to keep hold of the Belgian if the transfer ban does stand this summer, but he remains the top target at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Eden Hazard; nutmegger, goalscorer, winner, legend.
Written by Dan Barker | @danbarkzr