The summer of Eden Hazard drama is just beginning, with plenty of ink, virtual or otherwise, yet to be spilled over his relationship with Conte, his future with Chelsea, and his ceaselessly rumored move to Real Madrid (now six years in the making!). We’ve heard it all before of course, but it only has to come true once.
But there’s plenty of time to worry about all that later. Before rushing into the future, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the past, the journey so far, the journey that has taken Eden Hazard on 200 Premier League matches with Chelsea.
He became the 10th such player in Chelsea history with his appearance against Crystal Palace on Saturday, joining a veritable plethora (well, 9, to be exact) of legends at the top of this list.
- John Terry — 492
- Frank Lampard — 429
- Petr Čech — 333
- Branislav Ivanović — 261
- Dennis Wise — 261
- Didier Drogba — 254
- Mikel John Obi — 249
- Ashley Cole — 229
- Gianfranco Zola — 229
- Eden Hazard — 200
César Azpilicueta (189), Gary Cahill (183), and Willian (159) are all within striking distance of this list. To be clear, this is just Premier League appearances (since 1992) — if we count all domestic league appearances, Hazard’s 200 puts him at 23rd (still not bad).
Here’s the man himself to do his little wink and smile routine, which we love.
Eden is also approaching a milestone if we count all competitions rather than just the Premier League, sitting currently at 288 and within reach of becoming the 35th player all-time to collect 300 appearances for the club. Hazard recently passed Joe Cole (282) for 40th all-time on that list.
Whether Hazard stays beyond this season maybe not even he knows. He’s probably not too worried about it at the moment however, and neither should we be. For now, we have things to win and goals to achieve, in both the Premier League and the Champions League, and perhaps even the FA Cup. Hazard, if he so chooses, can be instrumental in all those aims — surely, he’d at least want to go out on a high note, as he’s said (jokingly?) before. And then, instead of leaving, he can choose to cement his Chelsea legend. The choice is his; let’s hope he makes the correct one.