Why Eden Hazard is struggling at Real Madrid
Eden Hazard was arguably the best player in the Premier League when he left Chelsea for Real Madrid in an eyeball-grabbing move. When he arrived at Real, almost everyone expected him to do well. After all, his low center of gravity and change of pace, coupled with his unselfishness and ability to change direction would fit well in any team. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. While Hazard has not been terrible, he has not sparkled the way the Belgian was expected to. This article looks at four possible reasons why he may not be up to the level we expect from him right now.
#1.Lack of fitness
Hazard has never been one of the fittest players in the world. Even at Chelsea, he has had a season or two where he was not in the best shape at the start of the season. Unfortunately, he arrived at Real very out of shape which does not help his game as he relies on that quick change of pace. Furthermore he needs to adapt to the lifestyle in Spain.
Hazard is not expected to be as fit as Ronaldo but he will have to get back to the shape that he was under Antonio Conte, if he wants to regain some of that change of pace, which he seems to be lacking at this moment.
#2. New team
Hazard was used to being the main man at Chelsea. Almost everything Chelsea ran would be through him. Players would look for Hazard on every move. That has not been the case at Madrid.
Hazard has not seen enough of the ball to turn and run at defenders. Furthermore Real has a slow build up play which does not allow Hazard to get any time on the ball. Added to that, Hazard is not dropping back to get the ball like he did at Chelsea. He is staying high up the pitch which is limiting his touches on the ball. As he is not a good header of the ball, he will not get much from Gareth Bale putting in crosses from the right. All this does not help his game.
#3. Lack of confidence
You don't expect the best players in the world to lack in confidence but one may wonder if that is affecting Hazard slighly. He is playing for his dream team, under his idol. He may have nerves and he would want to please his new teammates. That may lead to him being passive on the ball which translates to not taking players on. That may be one of the reasons why his take ons have decreased dramatically.
#4. Early days
While the media may be talking about how Hazard is not going to work out at Real Madrid, one must realize that these are still very early days for Hazard. Even players like Luka Modric took almost an year to adapt and shine at Madrid.
Hazard is a type of player who is not expected to press a lot and so if Madrid expect him to do so then they have unrealistic expectations. On the other hand, Hazard is expected to drive the ball forward and glide on the pitch while evading tackles. Madrid fans expect that from him and they may have to be slightly patient to see that from him.