Real Madrid: Can Eden Hazard take over the mantle from Cristiano Ronaldo?
It's not been plain sailing for the Spanish capital club, post-Ronaldo. The Portuguese goal-getter departed Real Madrid in search of a 'fresh challenge' in Turin last summer, and since then Madrid has struggled to hit the lofty heights they attained in the Ronaldo years.
Cristiano Ronaldo stands a colossus in Real Madrid folklore, as he broke every conceivable record in his hugely successful stint for Los Blancos. Ronaldo is Madrid's record scorer with 451 goals in 438 appearances, club leading scorer in LaLiga (312), has the most goals scored by a Real player in one season (61), etc.
He also amassed an intimidating collection of team and individual honors during his time in the Spanish capital, including, 4 UCL titles, 2 LaLiga titles, 3 Club World Cups, 2 Spanish Cups, 4 Ballon d'Or awards, etc.
He was famously dubbed 'the heir to Alfredo Di Stefano' by Florentino Perez, however, the show must go on, and Real Madrid needs an heir to Ronaldo.
Easier said than done.
After months of openly affirming his desire to wear the famous white shirt of Real, Eden Hazard was finally snapped up for a whopping £88.5 million transfer fee this summer. Expectations are understandably high, as many see him as the man tasked with filling Ronaldo's void. But can he? Can anybody? That's a ginormous void to fill.
According to Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane,
“The problem is that Cristiano cannot be replaced, he's gone."
Well said. It will certainly be hard to replicate Ronaldo's stunning goal per game ratio, however, what Real Madrid needs right now is a player who can get them firing on all cylinders, a player who can inspire his mates on the pitch and take the bull by the horn when the occasion calls for it.
That's attainable, and in Eden Hazard, they have a performer with the guile to lead the charge to the summit once again.
With 85 goals and 61 assists in 245 PL games, Eden Hazard was a top draw in England, and he was the eye of the storm for the Blues on many occasions. The Belgian certainly knows a thing or two about calling the shots up front.
Replacing Cristiano Ronaldo outright is mission impossible, as there are only two players in the world who can realistically replicate his numbers for Real Madrid - Lionel Messi, and Ronaldo himself.
Expecting Eden Hazard to fill Ronaldo's boots in that regard is a tall order, however, in Hazard, Real Madrid has a performer who will lead on the pitch with distinction, as well as inspire his teammates with match-winning performances, time and again.