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It seemed like the perfect storyline at the time as Eden Hazard bade farewell to the blues following a mouth-watering 100 million pounds move to Real Madrid after seven seasons at Stamford Bridge. It just seemed right, didn’t it? A proven veteran and superstar moving to his dream club to be the best player in the world, what could go wrong? However, just two seasons in, every football fan would agree that almost everything has gone wrong.
What happened to Eden Hazard at Real Madrid?
That question seems to be on every football fan's lips nowadays. From fans of the player to his current teammates to fans of his former club, Chelsea. What happened to the menacing player who was a nightmare for defenders in the premier league?
Signed as a replacement to the mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo after his shocking move to Juventus. Eden Hazard was ushered into Real Madrid with a lot of pressure on him to fill the boots of one of the best players of all time. Although replicating the ex-Real Madrid’s Legend’s goal numbers was not expected from him, he was expected to hold the forte as the team’s attacking focal point as he did at Chelsea, however that has not been the case as Karim Benzema has been Real Madrid’s star man for the past two seasons. So what went wrong?
The ex-Chelsea star has been plagued by injuries ever since his move to the Spanish giants which was not the case at Chelsea. After arriving at Madrid slightly overweight during the summer, Eden Hazard’s injury issues began. From a hamstring injury that left him sidelined for over twenty days to a bruised ankle, Eden Hazard’s injury issues started piling up. Having being injured for over 250 days in the Real Madrid shirt and missed over 40 games during that period, his physical fitness has been a major reason for his poor form at Madrid. The astonishing fact is that he has been injured in Madrid in two seasons more than he had been injured throughout the entirety of his stay at Chelsea. While some have blamed the medical staff at Real Madrid for his injury issues, some have attributed it to the years of being constantly tackled aggressively in the premier league getting to him. However, one thing is sure, Eden Hazard’s injury issues have been a major reason for him not performing at real Madrid as he lacks continuity and has not been able to adapt to the Spanish gameplay.
Adapting to Zidane’s Real Madrid
At Chelsea, Eden Hazard was the focal point of the attack, he was the one the team looked up to for inspiration when things were looking gloomy and most of their most dangerous plays went through him. However, at Real Madrid, a team filled to the brim with superstars such as the likes of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Kareem Benzema, Isco, etc. it seems like Hazard has not gotten used to the fact that he has to earn the spot of being the focal point of the attack. At times, he looked isolated during games while the game seemed to pass him by. The Eden Hazard of Chelsea used to drop deep into the midfield area to start moves due to his impressive dribbling skills and passing abilities. However, at Madrid, the play does not go through him as it did at Chelsea. Another interesting fact is that although he plays at his preferred position which is on the left-wing of the attack, Madrid’s gameplay of crossing the ball into the box does not seem to suit him as he doesn’t have the physical ability of Cristiano Ronaldo to win headers and provide an aerial threat in the opposition box. This is probably one of the reasons why he has been ineffective in the Los Blancos shirt. He has had a meager total of four goals and seven assists during the entirety of his spell at Real Madrid.
Donning the Real Madrid shirt brings pressure, however, donning the revered number 7 jersey at Madrid brings a whole new level of expectations and pressure. His injury issues coupled with the fact that he is in a new league and a new city with a whole lot of expectations placed on him might have affected his confidence level. Although the move to Madrid has been a lifelong dream for him, seeing it not go the way he envisaged might have taken a huge hit on his confidence. Constant criticism from the impatient Real Madrid fans might also contribute to this. Lack of confidence is something that can break any football player, however, a string of good performances and backing from his coach and teammates should help get him back to his best.
The Cristiano Ronaldo Curse?
Some superstitious football fans however have been spreading the myth that the “Ronaldo curse” is responsible for Eden Hazard’s poor start to life at Madrid. The Ronaldo curse is just a weird myth that any player who inherits the shirt number of the football legend is doomed to fail while wearing that shirt. Players such as Michael Owen, Anthony Valencia, Memphis Depay, Alexis Sanchez, and Angel Di Maria who donned the number 7 jersey after Cristiano Ronaldo have all failed woefully while wearing it. While some attribute it to the pressure of filling the boots of the football legend, some just believe it is spiritual for reasons best known to them.
Summing it up
Eden Hazard’s spell at Real Madrid has frankly been poor for a player who was signed for 100 million pounds and a player of his caliber. However, if he can get fit like he was at Chelsea and get continuity with the Madrid team by starting matches and getting more involved in attacking plays, he might be able to turn his Real Madrid career around. However, answering the question that has he been a flop at Madrid? Hell yeah, he has been a flop at Madrid. However, I do hope he would be able to turn his Real Madrid career around as he is one of the best players in the world at his very best.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Fawaz Akintunde