Chelsea’s brilliant Eden Hazard transfer decision as Morocco beat Belgium at World Cup | Football | Sport
Back in the summer transfer window of 2019, Chelsea received a huge £88million offer for Eden Hazard from Real Madrid. And though they wanted to keep the Belgium international at first, they then proceeded to grant him his wish of a move to the Bernabeu. Yet the 31-year-old is clearly finished, as his flat showing in his country’s 2-0 defeat to Morocco proved on Sunday…
Chelsea signed Hazard back in the summer transfer window of 2012, shortly after winning the Champions League, beating Manchester United to his signature in the process.
And the Belgian would go on to become a cult hero at Stamford Bridge during his time in the Premier League, enchanting fans with his skills, pace and goals.
Hazard would spend seven years at the club, propelling them to six major trophies including two league crowns and two Europa League trophies.
He also netted 110 times, with only eight players in the club’s entire history managing more.
But, in 2019, Hazard was allowed to Chelsea with Real Madrid’s dizzying offer deemed far too good to turn down.
Now, over three years on, it would be no understatement to say the Blues’ decision to part ways with their wing wizard was a masterstroke.
It just hasn’t happened for the 31-year-old at Real Madrid, with the forward limited to just 72 appearances for the club after nearly four years in Spain.
Hazard has been continuously struck down with injuries, with last term’s total of 18 La Liga appearances his best to date in a white shirt for a single season.
And he was abysmal as Belgium crashed to defeat against Morocco at the World Cup on Sunday, too, with the attacker hooked after an hour on the pitch.
His confidence looks shot. Roberto Martinez has repeatedly backed his talisman to come good but even Hazard appears to doubt whether he’s capable of that.
Gone are the days where he would take matches by the scruff of his neck and win them by himself, too.
Hazard has lost his speed, his creativity and his threat – three things Real thought they were getting when they parted with such a large sum of cash in 2019.
Chelsea could easily have tried to fend them off but, instead, it seems like they’ve parted ways with Hazard at the right time. They’re richer, and better off, without their old No 10.
And it’ll now be fascinating to see how Belgium respond to this setback, with the Red Devils looking ropey at the tournament so far.
If Croatia beat Canada tonight, something that’s certainly feasible, they’ll join Morocco on four points.
This is meant to be Belgium’s golden generation. Hazard will likely be retired by the time the next World Cup takes place, while Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku will both be approaching the twilight years of their respective careers.
But, instead, they’re facing elimination. And that’s a crushing blow to Roberto Martinez, who has been aiming to steer them all the way to glory in the build-up to this tournament.
Former Manchester City and West Ham star Pablo Zabaleta, meanwhile, has accused Belgium of not showing enough fight during the showdown in Doha.
“We spoke about the mentality of that Belgium team,” he said on BBC One while performing punditry duties.
“When you have some of your best players coming out and saying ‘we have no chance at this World Cup, the squad too old.’ It will affect the mentality of the squad.
“We have seen no passion, no fight, no energy. Nothing.
“They still have individual quality to win games and get through the last 16 but it is really sad to see that Belgian group of players not fighting for the country.”