Eden Hazard: Once London royalty, now Madrid mediocrity
Seven months into his Real Madrid tenure and Eden Hazard has already missed more games for the Galacticos through injury than he did in his entire Chelsea career.
Hazard, after an anticipated move to Madrid in July last year, was reckoned as the newest member of Real’s Galactico wave alongside Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Rodrygo Goes but fast forward to the date and none of them have managed to live up the hype.
A legend in every sense at Stamford Bridge, Hazard made a comeback from injury which had kept him on the sidelines since November 2019 on Saturday, but the Belgian lasted just 67 minutes after suffering a hairline fracture in a 1-0 loss to Levante.
“Following the tests carried out today on our player, Eden Hazard, by the Real Madrid medical department, he has been diagnosed with a fracture to his right distal fibula,” read an official statement from Real Madrid.
It is expected that the fracture is set to keep him out for at least two months, meaning that he’d miss Real’s Champions League tie against Manchester City as well as the El Clasico. Hazard has had terrible luck with injuries since moving to Spain. His list includes:
- August 16 - September 10: Hamstring injury | 25 days sidelined | 3 games missed
- November 27 - December 5: Bruised ankle | 8 days sidelined | 1 game missed
- December 5 - February 7: Hairline crack in the foot | 64 days sidelined | 16 games missed
- February 22 - March 1: Hairline fracture in right fibula | 8 days sidelined | 2 games missed
As things stand, the 29-year-old has only one goal and an assist in La Liga this season. For someone who used to dominate and dictate the Premier League at will, a form as this remains a cause of concern given that Real paid as much a club-record transfer fee of £130m – including all the bonuses.
Hazard first appeared in Real’s starting XI in late September; and has only played 140 minutes of football in last three months. Exactly at this time last year, Hazard had the world at his feet, carrying Chelsea’s top-four quest in the Premier League and was touted to be one of best footballers; on shoulders with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo. The pressure of performing in the royal white shirt, however, has taken its toll. Injuries sure have played bit parts, but the fact remains that the Belgian is no longer the world-beater he was at Chelsea.
Is it that Hazard, who was involved in 31 league goals last season (16 goals and 15 assists), has become a victim of Real’s anguished hunt of finding Ronaldo’s replacement? Maybe. And if that is the case, the pressure is more than obvious. Hazard’s quality as a footballer has never been questioned, to say the least. Working under Zinedine Zidane has always been his dream, which began soon after he received a call from the Frenchman after Euro 2016. But now that the dream has been achieved, destiny has taken a distasteful turn.