(Picture Credit: Real Madrid Twitter)
TIME FOR HAZARD TO STEP UP!
It is undeniable that Zinedine Zidane’s second stint at Real Madrid is miles behind his first glorious stint as reflected by defeats in the hand of Shakhtar Donetsk and newly promoted Cadiz along with a draw in UCL group stage match against Borussia Monchengladbach. Even though victory against Barcelona in El Classico gave a boost to his chances of staying at the Spanish club, with Perez lining up club legend Raul and Mauricio Pochettino as alternatives, Zidane badly needs to get his team back to winning ways on a consistent level. The club comfortably secured a victory against Granada in their last match with Eden Hazard scoring a goal declaring the world of his return back to form and possibly unleashing his Chelsea glory days on the pitch
In summer 2019, Real Madrid fans were ecstatic and excited when Eden Hazard left Chelsea and agreed to join the 13-time European champions last July in a deal that could reportedly rise to a club-record £130m as Portuguese Talisman Cristiano Ronaldo’s long term replacement who ended his 9-year stay to move to Turin and join Italian club Juventus. The Belgian playmaker was keen to join Real Madrid and has been constantly linked with the Spanish capital-based club for a very long time. On the day of his unveiling as a Real Madrid player in the Spanish capital, The player himself was equally elated and his first few words in the White and Gold jersey were - "I've dreamt about this since I was little, I always supported Real Madrid. I will try to be the best in the world."
Hazard’s first season at Real Madrid is something that he and all his fans would have labeled ‘ A season that should not exist in history books’. Over the course of the season, Hazard suffered an ankle fracture, a thigh injury, fracture to his right distal fibula in his ankle which restricted his playing time to 16 appearances over the course of the season in different competitions as well as Hazard ending up completely out of shape.
Even though Perez sees Hazard as his new no. 7, journalists and football experts have put Hazard on the line of fire and criticized him for not taking his career at Madrid seriously by turning up overweight in training and failing to play at his full potential on the pitch. However, former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger came in support of Eden Hazard by stating that “It’s unrealistic in the first place to expect the new man to get the sort of goals tally Ronaldo used to rack up every season at the Bernabeu. He will be the answer, but not in replacing Ronaldo that is for sure. He will not score 50 goals a year because that's now how they [Real Madrid] play football. They need another goalscorer… if they had someone younger around him to score the goals, maybe they could do very well. Eden is an exceptional player to create chances, and sometimes finish, which is what he needs to do in big games. I don't think Real have yet to see the real Hazard."
The Spanish press has labeled him ‘a Fat Galactico’ after pictures of him turning up overweight in the pre-season training sessions circulated all over the media. Hazard, in response to this, has stated that he was on vacation and has given assurance to the fans and the press that he will lose the extra pounds and will return to his best shape as soon as possible. Hazard's national team manager was even forced to defend his charge, with Roberto Martinez saying: "He takes great care of himself and, in my eyes, he's not fat."
With Real's new big-money recruit failing to score in his first five games in all competitions in his first season, Spanish publication Marca noted only Michael Owen had made a worse start to life as a Galactico after the Englishman took seven matches to get off the mark at the Bernabeu. However, Eden saved himself from this misery by scoring in his 6th appearance against Granada and let Owen have this unwanted record intact.
However, Eden Hazard’s injury record has seen a massive change with him now missed more games with injury in his curtailed debut season at Real than he did in his entire seven-year Chelsea career. Zinedine Zidane has placed immense trust in him and his abilities and has asked fans to be patient as his best is yet to come by stating that "I know he is going to succeed here. I'm not going to give him any advice on how to play. He knows what we want from him and we know the player he is. We all have to remain calm, I'm not worried at all."
When Hazard joined one of the biggest clubs in the world, he was also becoming their latest Galactico, six years on from the previous big-money arrival at the Bernabeu, Gareth Bale.
However, much like the Welshman before him, Hazard is not one for the spotlight, preferring instead to do his talking on the pitch, where he feels most at home with a ball at his feet. Hazard is a very different character, though, as he hinted at during his unveiling: "I'm not a Galactico, but I'll try to be. For now, I'm Eden Hazard." Hazard knew he had to up his game, though, in order to justify the money Real had forked out on him as well as have to adapt and immerse himself in this new style of play which requires him to be more attacking and creative in the middle. However, Hazard would not be the first player who needed time to adjust to a new team, country, and league and Zidane is right in asking fans to be patient and not jump to conclusions about whether signing Hazard is a big mistake by the club. It is known to the world that Eden Hazard is a world-class player and due to injuries being suffered in the first season, it would be wise enough to cut him slack and give him another chance to prove himself being worthy to receive appreciation and applause from Real Madrid fans all across the world and with him coming back to the field in full fitness and giving a glimpse of what he’s really made of, Real Madrid fans, as well as Zinedine Zidane, might see a turnaround in their footballing fate.