Former Chelsea left-back Filipe Luis did an interview with YouTube channel 2AngryMen TV and told a rather amusing story about Eden Hazard.
“Eden played Mario Kart in the dressing room, the fitness coach would say ‘10 minutes and we’re going out to warm-up’ and he wouldn’t be dressed and would keep playing.”
[Eden responded] ”Don’t worry, you give me the ball and there won’t be a problem.”
–Filipe Luis; source: Marca via YouTube channel 2AngryMen TV
As far as short anecdotes that provide a vivid picture of a player’s ethos and personality go, this one is an instant classic. The brevity helps it, but also knowing that this is the type of true where, even if it was embellished or flatly untrue, it’s true now.
Those of us who had the joy, and oft times frustration, of watching Eden Hazard for his seven seasons at Chelsea know that things like training, running, conditioning, and tracking back were — at best — 1,847,293,368th on his list of things he wanted to do.
However, his body shape, quick feet, acceleration, and crafted dribbling technique made him the most dangerous man on nearly any pitch he stepped on. Usually, and especially when he had something to prove, giving him the ball was the shortest route to extinguishing all problems.
Also, who can blame him? Mario Kart is fun as hell. And a man who wastes a turtle shell is not a man you can trust.
Luis also tried his best to ruin the fun story a bit by passing a bit of hilarious judgment for someone who lasted one season in the Premier League,
“For me, concentration is the most important, being on your phone on Facebook, Instagram, a lot takes that away from you, especially if you spend five hours a day on it.”
But also I can imagine a few teammates of Hazard’s had similar frustrations. Very few footballers have ever been as talented as Hazard, and even fewer have actually taken over matches seemingly at will. It has to be a little annoying to keep rolling the ball to Hazard’s feet, hoping this time he’ll feel inspired to do Hazard things and put the ball in the net. Then, before you can reset your position, the ball is already rolling back to you.
Still, the story is fun and a microcosm of what we all assumed Hazard was like: silly bordering on whimsical and with a nonchalance that he only shed on occasion, and for his own reasons — like not wanting Spurs to win the title.