In the summer of 2019, Real Madrid completed the signing they had been plotting for quite a while. The player was long admired by Zinedine Zidane, proved to be one of the best in the Premier League with Chelsea, captained Belgium and proved his leadership qualities. Jerseys with his name on the back would fly off the shelves. All in all, a perfect “Galactico”.
Eden Hazard and Real Madrid seemed like a match made in heaven. The Belgian was supposed to be the new talisman, especially in big games. His numbers against the Big Six in the Premier League were up there with the best ever after all.
Up to 8 El Clasicos and one Champions League final have been contested by Real Madrid since joining the club, arguably the biggest matches in all of football. Hazard hasn’t played a single minute in all those matches combined.
To his credit, he made a great start to his Real Madrid career with a goal and an assist on his first league start at the Santiago Bernabeu. But that seems like a distant memory now. Injury after injury never allowed him to truly discover his old self. For two seasons he struggled. He finally appeared to be showing some glimpses of himself at the start of the 2021-22 season. Alas, it was at this exact moment that a certain Brazilian wonderkid named Vinicius Junior started to shine and pushed the Belgian to the periphery of the starting XI.
Can Hazard redeem himself at the World Cup after a nightmarish run at Real Madrid?
Hazard has become a likeable figure at Real Madrid over the years. Thankfully, even on the rare occasions he’s received from Carlo Ancelotti, he continues to show his true class. There’s no consistency and it’s often just flashes, but it’s reminiscent of the old adage – form is temporary, class is permanent.
Hazard’s biggest advantage for the World Cup is that his coach with the national team seems to have full confidence in his abilities. Roberto Martinez not only takes him to Qatar but proves his faith by allowing him to keep the captain’s armband. Despite the large pool of talent at his disposal, he unequivocally praised him for being the best player in his position. And it’s not just the coach; the whole team loves him and rallies around him.
Naturally, during the decline of his own form, some of the other players have come out of the shadows and are quite important to the team. One of those names is Thorgan Hazard, his own brother. If ever there was to be a conducive atmosphere it is now and here.
The Belgian team remains to this day the only team to be ranked world number 1 without a world or continental crown. But the thing is, they currently have the longest continuous reign of any European team. This indicates that the team is truly made up of generational talent and has plenty of superstars. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois will make sure the pressure isn’t on any particular individual and it’s a team effort.
Hazard has fond memories of the World Cup as a tournament. He first appeared in Brazil in 2014, provided 2 assists and reached the quarter-finals. In Russia 2018 he captained the team, scored 3 goals, assisted twice and reached the semi-finals before finally finishing in third place. So if football were to be a simple arithmetic progression then the Red Devils would reach the Qatar 2022 final. tournaments with Real. The Madrid star in the center al.
Hazard has appeared 122 times for Belgium, fourth most for the team. He scored 33 goals in those appearances, second in the top scorer chart. He is already a legend of Belgian football. The question is, can he go back to Qatar?
His parents and all his brothers are footballers. The game takes place in the family. He won the league and cups in France, England and Spain. He won the Europa League and the Champions League. The number of individual awards he has to his name is staggering. He knows how to dominate a game and how to turn a game around with an inspired performance. He knows, he’s done it a million times before. Hopefully this time around he will show up at the World Cup and kick-start his career.