Eden Hazard - a superstar in the making
It was a hurriKane at the White Hart Lane the other day – Chelsea blew away, so was the title race. The footballing world took note, but when the dust settled, a pillar still stood strong. A pillar who yet again showed his world class talent, who yet again added a couple of million pounds to his value.
Eden Hazard has got what it takes to be a superstar footballer alongside the ever present Ronaldo and Messi. The Belgium midfielder has been a major factor behind Chelsea’s superb performance during the first half of the season – scoring eight times and providing four assists. At 23, he is on the right track to realise his true potential. Given that an average footballer peaks at the age of 28, it’s already frightening to think about such talent ruling the pitch in years to come.
A part of the Belgian golden generation, Hazard came to the Premier League in the summer of 2012 amidst a host of rumours circulating around the country. Manchester United or Manchester City were expected to seal the deal when he once announced on Twitter that “I have made up my mind”.
Till the day he signed a £32m deal with Chelsea, Hazard kept the print mill on its toes; it was like they were chasing a ghost. Fast forward to 2015, the chase isn’t over. It’s just that the defenders chase him when he dribbles past them.
The way he ran goalwards and blasted a left footer past a helpless Hugo Lloris for Chelsea’s second goal of the evening tells us how far he has come in the past two and a half years of his time in the country. He was clearly Chelsea’s outstanding player of the game. I still remember his time at Lille, when at a tender age of 21, he had played in 100 consecutive matches, tormented the defences with his lightening pace and trickery. Not only he scored 20 goals, he also made 15 assists in his final season at Lille.
So is a future transfer to giants like Barcelona or Real Madrid imminent? Well yes certainly, at some stage of his career. There will be something that would force him to move. It could be a ridiculous sum of money offered by Real, it could be lack of trophies at the Stamford Bridge, or it could just be a new challenge that he might want later in his life.
It all comes at a price though. The physicality of the Premier League could hamper this little magician’s game.
“People in love with football in this country, people must be in love with Eden Hazard,” Mourinho said after Thursday’s game. “The way, match after match, he’s being punished by opponents and he’s not being protected by referees, maybe one day we won’t have Eden Hazard. It’s one, two, three, four, five, ten aggressive fouls against him. They kick and kick and kick, and the kid resists.” His teammate Felipe Luis said that the fouls were a statement of how good he is on the pitch.
A cunning player on the pitch, Hazard is an honest man. He doesn’t care about all this. He isn’t complaining after every foul. He just stands up on his feet, shows his class, and rather makes the spectators stand up after the game. And that is what sets him apart from the likes of the maverick Mario Balotelli or Jack Wilshere, who are now fast disappearing from the Talents Of The Future list.
The game on January 1 just showed us what is to come from Hazard this whole year. Harry Kane grabbed the headlines in what was a devastating display by Spurs, but when it all settled, a pillar still stood strong.