Christian Pulisic’s career at Chelsea may have just started, but the comparisons between him and Eden Hazard began long before, practically as soon as he signed on the dotted line back in January.
You could certainly draw some parallels between their careers (both starting at a very young age and becoming highly coveted around Europe), their style (both very direct players who like to dribble by defenders), and their very young age when joining Chelsea for a very high price (Hazard was 21 and cost €35m in 2012 money; Pulisic just 20 and cost €64m in 2019 money). But anything beyond a cursory parallel would be an unfair expectation and a disservice to Pulisic.
“I’m not here to compare or anything. Obviously Eden was amazing and he did so well for this club, as you could see last season and the whole time he’s been here. He was an incredible player.
“For me, it’s coming in as my own player, proving myself and doing the best I can to help this team.”
Pulisic is not the first or the last player to be heralded as “the next” former player, but like all professionals, he wants to make the most of his own career rather than worry about living up to some previous player’s legacy. And who knows, maybe Pulisic will eclipse Hazard in certain respects, even!
“Right now it’s going in and helping the team whatever way I can. It’s just bringing an intensity into the training first of all and earning respect in the beginning. Then I want to make an impact as much as I can on the pitch.”
Seven years ago, Hazard kickstarted the new post-Old Guard era at Chelsea. His departure was the symbolic end, and the start of something new, with the club looking mostly to our own in just about every aspect. Pulisic is the only actual newcomer to the club, but he brings the sort of intensity, versatility, and winning mentality that should be a good match with what we can expect from Lampard’s Chelsea.
“I think the most important thing is about intensity now in modern football. Everyone can see the last Champions League final was about two teams that can play with high intensity.
”Frank loves this club and has the identity of this club. All the staff are working with love and passion and they want to give us the best things to perform well inside the pitch.”
-Christian Pulisic; source: Sky Sports
Pulisic might not be as flashy as Hazard, but Lampard expects he will be a big hit with the fans just the same. If he helps us maintain the ambitions and winning habits that have defined the club over the past couple decades, he will be indeed.