In celebration of Eden Hazard: The Belgian warrior's path to greatness
There are players who are known for their athleticism in a contact sport like football. They have worked extra hard throughout the years, pushed their body to extreme limits which resulted in developing extraordinary fitness, speed and power. They dominate their opponents with their performances comprising of resounding agility and power.
Then there are few players who mesmerize us through their seemingly effortless and unique grace whilst dominating rivals. Eden Hazard belongs to the latter category although he has all the ammunition to make it to the first.
Eden Hazard has always been one of the best players of English Premier League in recent years. He has been the talisman of Chelsea for quite some years now, as his brilliance propelled Chelsea into winning the league both in 2014/15 and 2016/17 seasons. He racked up 14 goals and 9 assists in 14/15 and 16 goals and 5 assists in 16/17, although numbers won’t do much justice to the dexterity that the Belgian possesses.
Even when Chelsea succumbed to unexpected lows, Hazard managed to flicker hope with his performances. But there were questions of his consistency and mood – one which Hazard seems desperate to quash this season.
It may seem a bogus statement to say that statistics won’t do justice for a forward but it isn’t. Eden Hazard manages to bring more to the plate as his spiralling legs and spider-like motion with his pumped up chest render opponents useless. Sometimes, it looks like he is passing rival defenders as if they are non-living obstacles on training grounds.
He knows when to play a one-two, when to run with the ball and when to release the ball; the best way to make things happen is giving him the ball when he is on song. His impact is much more than just numbers but for the sake of clarity, Hazard has averaged more than 3.5 dribbles per game and at least 2 key passes per game since he arrived at Chelsea.
Despite winning PFA awards and excellent performances, there was a prominent question about why Hazard was not constantly unstoppable. Like most geniuses, he was flawed and criticized for being off colour numerous times. But since the beginning of this year, Hazard took his consistency to a different level.
His brilliant performance in the World Cup quashed any rumours of friction between Belgium talents and eradicated any doubts regarding team chemistry. He won the Silver Ball behind Luka Modric and was one of the best players of this year’s World Cup.
After ending the World Cup on an all-time high, his blistering run has continued. He carried his amazing form from the World Cup into the Premier League, Carabao Cup and Europa League. He has been unstoppable till now – breaking down barriers and getting past tackles at will.
He has already managed to score 7 goals and provide 3 assists in the English Premier League so far. Football fans and critics over the world, who watched Eden Hazard grow into what he is today spoke about him unleashing his full potential in these past seasons and under Sarri, he has managed to do just that.
Without the defensive responsibilities under Maurizio Sarri and with an astutely balanced midfield behind him, Hazard has looked menacing so far, with his quick feet weaving unbelievable moments in almost every match. His sensational dribbling ability and his exceptional touch and poise on the ball combined with his knack for picking out players with immaculate vision make him one of the best in the world at the moment, if not the outright best on current form.
Eden Hazard is certainly not as marketable as someone like Neymar. He is not a brand and rarely is on centre of spicy dossiers, both on and off the pitch. When players are constantly jumping ships in search for greatness, Eden Hazard planted his feet like a tree and didn’t budge an inch. Despite his rumours of a move to Real Madrid, he stayed at his club through good times and bad.
Eden Hazard’s virtue of staying put, keeping his head down and constantly striving towards greatness is what makes him a player of the highest calibre and he is not fading out anytime soon.