In an era defined by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, most of the best players in the world would get attracted to Barcelona and Real Madrid, resulting in a decade of Spanish domination in football. The attention to these two legends was the reason several world-class players from other leagues went under the radar, and failed to receive the appreciation that they deserved.
Often regarded to be among the top 10 players in the world, Eden Hazard was the standout player for Chelsea in their trophy-laden campaigns under Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri. He was instrumental for Chelsea's success when they won the Premier League titles in 2015 and 2017, and the Europa League last season. Even in Chelsea's toughest seasons, when they failed to win any silverware, Hazard was the player who constantly carried the team on his back.
Compared to other European elites, like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City, Chelsea always had a lesser squad in terms of world-class talents. As a result, Hazard's individual brilliance would often get overshadowed by Chelsea's poor displays at the European forefront and trophy-less campaigns in the English Premier League.
After his move to Real Madrid, Hazard is finally getting the limelight that he deserves. Real Madrid are coming off the back of a disastrous 2018/19 season, and they are desperate to restore their status as the biggest powerhouse in world football. One of the biggest reasons for Real's miseries last season was the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and Hazard has been brought in to fill his shoes.
During his time at Real Madrid, Ronaldo led his team to so many successful campaigns, where they won multiple LaLiga and Champions League titles. As Ronaldo's successor, Hazard has a lot to live up to. But the reason why Florentino Perez chose Hazard to succeed Ronaldo is that he has all the qualities and experience to do so. Hazard will be the main protagonist for Real Madrid this season, and if he's able to perform for such a huge club, at the same level that he used to at Chelsea, then he would certainly claim the attention that has evaded him for so long and get the spotlight that Ronaldo had made his own.
At Real Madrid, the supporting cast that Hazard would get to work with is far superior to what he had at Chelsea. Florentino Perez has assembled one of the strongest teams in the world by having players like Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, who have won 4 Champions Leagues, as well as by bringing in talents like Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy, who are hungry for success.
While he's at Real Madrid, Hazard will be seen as Lionel Messi's biggest rival in Spain. Inspiring his team to beat Messi's Barcelona to the LaLiga title would certainly cement Hazard's position as one of the top 3 players in the world.
The 2019/20 season has just kicked off, and early injuries have prevented Eden Hazard from featuring for the Los Blancos in their opening games. But it remains beyond doubt that Real Madrid's season ahead will be defined by how he performs. Should Eden Hazard demonstrate the same class that he displayed at Chelsea, and for Belgium in the 2018 World Cup, his status as one of the very best in the world would become undeniable.Published 23 Aug 2019, 18:19 IST