On this day 10 years ago, Eden Hazard changed the lives of Chelsea fans worldwide. He publicly announced that he would be a Chelsea player for the season 2012/13.
It feels like it was just yesterday when Manchester United fans felt certain that the Belgian would join Sir Alex Ferguson in what would be his last season for the club. Hazard piqued the interest of several top clubs but he chose the Champions of Europe at the time and the rest was history.
I don’t enjoy being emotionally attached to players. Before his arrival, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard were the only players who I could say were Chelsea through and through. I’m sure each Chelsea fan has a couple of players to whom they grew an attachment to. Hazard made the list the second he announced his arrival in unprecedented fashion. A tweet was all we had to confirm that he was coming to Stamford Bridge. What a journey it has been since then!
When you mention Eden Hazard, you think of him as one of the best footballers to grace the new Premier League era. I don’t make the rules, it’s just a fact. Such a talented Belgian magician. He acclimatised quickly to the league after his move from Lille. He just seemed like he belonged.
In his 7 years as a West Londoner, Hazard won many individual honours. He was Chelsea Player of the Year in the years 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019. In 2015 he won PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Premier League Player of the Season and FWA Footballer of the Year. In addition to his honours, he was in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017. Was PFA Young Player of the Year in 2014. And was PFA Players’ Player of the Year runner-up, FWA Footballer of the Year runner-up, Belgium Player of the Year and the Best Belgian Playing Abroad in 2017.
A pretty impressive seven years with the Blues on an individual scale, but he had also helped the team drastically to a number of trophies. Two Premier Leagues, two Europa Leagues, two League Cups and one FA cup.
Though he announced he would be joining the Blues on this very date in 2012, he left a day after in 2019. He made his move to Real Madrid where he has not had the best of starts to his career. Injuries to his ankle, in particular, hampered the Belgian’s progress. In the last three years he has only managed to be involved in 66 matches, making the starting 11 in just 40. Not the stellar stats you’d expect from the Belgian having registered just six goals and 10 assists in that time.
I fear that he will just be remembered as a cult hero with his move to Real Madrid overshadowing his excellence…