Since Eden Hazard's arrival at Chelsea back in 2012, it has become some sort of tradition to have his name linked to an exit from Stamford Bridge each and every summer. The usual suspects are Real Madrid and Barcelona, the former more than the latter thanks to their connection with Eden's major idol Zinedine Zidane.
Each year, the fear mongering work from the press makes many of us believes that he is drawing closer to the inevitable end of his career as a Chelsea player. There is always an external factor at play to justify that. It was the club's history at first; then, Zidane's tenure as manager; and this year, it was Cristiano Ronaldo's exit from Madrid and their search for a star just as talented to fill the gap left by the Portuguese attacker.
And yet, here we are. He remains a Chelsea player, as happy as a clam in spite of the fear that was built upon the risk of losing him. And more than willing to give his all on the pitch in return to everything we provided to his career.
“I’m always happy when I play football. After the World Cup I spoke, now I’m still with Chelsea.”
“I just try to give everything for this club. This club gave me a lot so when I’m on the pitch I try to do my best.”
And he is also better than ever.
After leading Belgium to a third-place in the World Cup and a well deserved three-week break, new fears were brought. That he would take much more time than anyone in the Chelsea squad to adapt to new coach Maurizio Sarri's tactical regime, as well as potentially struggle for fitness.
These fears lasted only two games. With five goals and two assists in five appearances — the last three as a starter — under the new boss, it is becoming clear that the main beneficiary of the new regime is Eden himself.
“I’m fresh. I took three weeks off after the World Cup. I think for me, it was enough, so we start the pre-season later.”
“I’m good when I’m playing football. Sometimes I’m tired but on the pitch I try to give everything and at the moment we’re doing well so it’s a pleasure to play.”
-Eden Hazard; Source: BBC Sport via Goal
It translates into marvellous showings from the Belgian, with him picking the second hat-trick of his Chelsea career against Cardiff last Saturday. The 4-1 win was inspired by his individual performance, certainly. But surely Sarri's tactics also come big into play here, as we kept a perfect record with five wins out of five Premier League matches. The kind of momentum that should not be lost.
“We just keep the ball. We are patient, so we don’t go too fast too early. After 20 minutes the result was 1-0 for Cardiff, but we just kept playing our football and then, when we have the chance, we need to score, and that’s what we did.”
”The manager just wants Chelsea to keep the ball, and then when we can find a solution we need to find good passes between the lines, like Jorginho, Kovacic and Fàbregas can do. So, we have a lot of good players, and at the moment we are in confidence, so we shoot, we score. We need to keep this momentum.”
Eden himself is ought to keep his hot streak going. He himself is looking forward to that, on the back of this increasing confidence found after his World Cup displays.
“We have a lot of freedom on the pitch, not just the three in front but all over the pitch, so when we are in this condition we just need to take the ball and try something, and at the moment something happens, so that is very good.”
“When I’m on the pitch I’m just trying to create chances, score goals. A hat-trick comes with confidence, so I will try to do more of this.”
-Eden Hazard; Source: Chelsea FC
Straight-jacket, be gone! Witness here the new Chelsea. And the new Eden to boot.
Even Zola’s bowing down: