First, there was Eden. Then, there was Thorgan. And then, Kylian.
The third Hazard arrived at Chelsea from Hungarian club Újpest in the summer of 2017 while still in the process of recovering from a devastating ACL injury. Signed more as a favor to his oldest brother rather than for any sort of actual footballing reason, Kylian joined the Chelsea Development team (U23), while making use of the team’s world class training and rehab facilities and even joining first-team training on occasion.
In an interview with French website Foot Mercato, Kylian reflected on that season as well as his time on loan this year at Cercle Brugge back in Belgium.
“I made a few appearances for the U23 club, [about] a dozen matches.
“[But] training with the first team, it’s immediately different. The game goes so much faster. [...] By playing with players of this level, everything is easier. [There’s a level of confidence that] we can do what we want and that we will succeed. The ball comes where we want it, we put the ball where it should be. It was a great experience to be able to train with players of this level. It allows progress.”
With Kylian fully recovered by the end of last season, many had expected him to move on permanently from the club, but he became one of the 40+ loanees in the Loan Army instead, when he joined Cercle Brugge for the season. Kylian did sign a three-year contract in 2017, so this was probably always going to be part of the plan, to help him rebuild his career after the major injury.
“No, I do not think that Chelsea expected me to do more. I think they were really in the idea of making me progress by sending me on loan, so that I could play on a professional level and not just stay with the kids and just do the workouts.”
“I really felt that they were behind me. Not because my name was Hazard, but because they saw something in me, and they wanted to get that out of me.”
So far, what’s been inside Kylian have been 4 goals and 1 assist in 17 league appearances for Cercle Brugge, who are stuck in the bottom half of Belgium’s top division but well clear of relegation.
“My ambitions are to play as much as possible and to show people that I have the qualities to have a career of my own. We will see what I could have next thanks to what I show [here].”
“For now, I do not know what I’ll do next season. I think I have to talk to the agents to see what Chelsea want to do. My goal is to play. For the moment, I’m fine. If I have a sports project that I can still play, I would go where the project interests me the most.”
“Regarding Chelsea, I have no idea. For the moment, we do not talk about that. After Chelsea, it’s different. They have several players on loan and it’s enough to ‘survive’.”
-Kylian Hazard; Source: Foot Mercato via Google Translate
With his contract expiring after next season (2020), and FIFA expected to start cracking down on frivolous loans, Kylian is likely to be moving on soon from his brief time on Chelsea’s books.
And then, there will be only one left to go, Ethan (who’s still just 15).