Eden Hazard has never been a vocal, chest-thumping leader a la John Terry, and is likely never going to be, even if he did take the armband truly seriously for the first time ever this past summer at the World Cup. Any talking that Hazard might do in a game situation will be with his feet, which, in fairness, is all Sarri (and all his other coaches) have ever asked him to do — with consistency of course.
It’s that latter part that’s the true catalyst behind the current conversation that’s taking place as far as Hazard’s role, future, motivations, and successes are concerned. But even if he’s unlikely to be too concerned about living up to anyone else’s expectations, he surely has a bit of internal drive that allows him to not coast on talent alone.
Still, Hazard’s approach to the game is less like a job or an existence-defining challenge and more like a hobby, where the ultimate aim is just to have some fun. Few things are more fun than winning, especially winning with style, and so Hazard’s happy enough. And if Hazard’s happy, surely we are happy, too.
“[In] the meeting we had before the game, we talked about going through and playing in the final. Now we are in the final so we are just happy.
“My job on the pitch is to do what I can do. Today I did so I am just happy. I always say that on the pitch I’m a leader. I think I’m a leader.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Sky
Sarri was full of praise for Hazard after the match as well, maybe not for any leadership qualities, but rather for technical excellence and faultless mentality.
“I think Hazard was having fun. I had fun for 65 minutes watching Hazard. He was a little bit tired in the last part of the match, he ran a lot, but he played a fantastic, wonderful match.
”The position is not a big problem, this match we played with another mind, motivation and determination. His qualities are more important than the position.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Sky
With Hazard likely back in his preferred position for the foreseeable future as Sarri looks to integrate Higuaín and continue to rotate Giroud, perhaps the fun can continue for at least the rest of the season if not beyond.
Onwards and upwards!