Eden Hazard may no longer be one of us, and he may be whispering sweet nothings into Real Madrid fans’ ears these days, but he’s still earning recognition for work he had done in Chelsea blue.
At the annual FIFA Awards Night on Monday, he was named in the FIFPro World XI for the second consecutive season. Last year, he was joined by Chelsea teammate N’Golo Kanté as well, but Kanté’s role in Sarri’s system was not safe for public consumption — he finished fourth in the midfield rankings because Hazard was classified as a midfielder (LOL).
Hazard meanwhile flourished, freed from any and all defensive responsibilities, reaching 20+ goals in all competitions for the first time at Chelsea (and second time overall), and leading the Premier League in combined goals (16) and assists (15). He finished his Chelsea career on a high note with a match-winning performance in the Europa League final as well — unlike the award for the best player in that competition, Hazard’s inclusion in the world’s best XI is certainly deserved (although not exactly as a central midfielder but whatever).
The 2019 FIFA FIFPro World XI in full is as follows:
D: Matthijs de Ligt, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Virgil van Dijk
M: Frenkie de Jong, Eden Hazard, Luka Modric
F: Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi
Individual awards winners on the night included Lionel Messi and Megan Rapinoe for best player, and Jurgen Klopp and Jill Ellis for best coach. No Chelsea player made the FIFPro Women’s World XI unfortunately. Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United won the fair play award for letting Aston Villa score a goal, and Hungarian teenager Dániel Zsóri won the Puskás Award for his fantastic overhead kick goal. It was his first professional goal, in his second professional match. He’s only scored one more since. He’s the first Hungarian player to win the award named after the greatest Hungarian goalscorer of all-time! Hajrá magyarok!