Football is defined by short-termism these days — results, contracts, likes, dislikes, etc — but if we manage to cast our minds all the way into the murky depths of 2011 and 2012 B.C.E. (that’s Before Champions of Europe), we will find a barely 21-year-old Eden Hazard dressed in the colors of Lille, playing with the emotions of all the big teams in Europe, acquiring a fairly solid reputation of being the perfect modern troll for our new football social media age.
chose promise chose due... je vais rejoindre le champion d europe.— Eden hazard (@hazardeden10) May 28, 2012
Hazard’s famous tweet, the one that announced that he was the proverbial cherry on top of Chelsea’s most surprising Champions League cake was just the culmination of at least six months of teasing, hinting, and just having way too much fun at the expense of everyone else. In fact, after this (at the time) quite annoying saga was over, we did a brief, very high-level overview of all the twists and turns.
Jan 29, 2012 - Hazard claims he wants to play for a ‘top’ Premier League team in the 2012/13 season. Chelsea seem the most obvious combination of money and need. Compliments Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Spurs within span of few days.
Feb 13, 2012 - ’Lille sources’ claimed that meant Tottenham Hotspur. Many skeptical
Mar 13, 2012 - Hazard talks up Manchester United:
May 2, 2012 - Spotted at Manchester derby. All but City and United believed to be out of race.
May 8, 2012 - Hazard claims he’ll be wearing blue next season. Rumours continue to swirl about a deal with Manchester United, who will be sporting a blue away kit.
May 19, 2012 - Chelsea win Champions League final. Speculation mounts that that puts them back into the Hazard race.
May 24, 2012 - Hazard confirms that he’ll be choosing between offers from three clubs: The Manchesters and Chelsea.
May 28, 2012 - A cryptic tweet (‘good afternoon guys. i made up my mind. see you later. thanks’) sparks hours of speculation until Hazard finally ends speculation by saying ‘I’m signing for the champion’s league winner.’
Jun 4, 2012 - Despite a week of wondering whether Hazard’s about to do an about-face, Chelsea FC announce his acquisition.
Of course, we’ve learned in the intervening years that a lot of that simply has to do with Hazard jovial, jokey, carefree attitude. He’s out here to have some fun. Football is fun. Life is fun. Eden is life.
Eden is also one of the best players in the world, having lived up to his original promise, and thus has been coveted by Real Madrid ever since signing with “stepping stone” Chelsea. We’ve gotten used that sideshow as well over the years, though that doesn’t mean they’re entirely unconcerning. But should Hazard sign his long-rumored extension, presumably keeping him in the SW6 for the rest of his prime years, we can just about stop having to deal with all that nonsense once and for all.
But apparently we can’t do that without Hazard getting in a last few teases. After Courtois revealed yesterday that the pair of them are encouraging each other to sign new long-term contract, but that he himself is likely to go first, here comes Eden to make it a bit of a fun competition.
Eden Hazard on a new Chelsea contract: “(laughs) I’m going to say the same thing as Thibaut: first he has to sign, then I might follow. I don’t know who’ll be the first to sign a new deal. That’s a secret.” #cfc pic.twitter.com/QHM8Wds2wJ— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) January 4, 2018
Well which one is it, Eden? Gah!
Silly kids, just sign the deals!