Type Eden Hazard into Google and you will see a multitude of things about the clearly gifted player. Dubbed the new Ronaldo (even though the old one hasn’t gone anywhere and will be around for a long time), the Belgian international has quickly made a name for himself in France attracting attention from Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid amongst others.
The 18 year old who plies his trade with OSC Lille, has been bubbling under the radar for sometime but broke to the forefront in the 2008-2009 season with a series of impressive performances that saw the 17 year old Hazard named as the young player of the year for that season, the first non French player ever to capture the award.
Hazard was handed his Lille debut at 16 as a substitute against Nancy in November 2007 and alternated between the reserves and the first team making 3 more substitute appearances that season.
If the 2007/2008 season offered a mere glimpse of Hazard’s talents then the 2008/2009 season was his coming out party as he cemented his place in the first team. In the dying minutes of a substitute appearance against Auxerre he scored the equaliser as Lille would go on to win the match 3-2, making him Lille’s youngest ever goal scorer. A few weeks later Hazard was granted a start and he didn’t disappoint, again scoring as Lille beat Saint Etienne 3-0. He would go on to score 2 more goals Sochaux and Marseille as well as 2 in the cup including 1 against defending champions Lyon as Lille sent them crashing out of the French Cup 3-2.
Lille realised that they had quite a player on their hands tied him down to a long term contract but in this current era where contracts aren’t worth the paper they are written on and money tends to speak the language of anyone with ears, don’t be surprised if you see him playing for another team soon.
He is supposedly Arsene Wenger’s main transfer target with Arsenal scouts watching his every game whilst Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool and Barcelona have all registered their interest.
Hazard has blistering pace and amazing technical ability with excellent passing and vision. He loves to run at players using his silky skills and fast feet to leave them confounded. He is capable of playing on the wings and as an attacking midfielder, where he uses his passing to create opportunities for team mates. He has quite a shot on him and when he lets rip, the results can be spectacular.
French legend Zinedine Zidane is also an admirer of the reigning young player of the year and has recommended him to Madrid. He was quoted as saying:
“I would take Hazard to Madrid with my eyes closed.”
Hazard is still young at 18 but has a very bright future ahead of him. He still has much to learn so staying at Lille could benefit him but when the time comes for him to make that leap into the big time, there will be a host of clubs fighting for his signature and the team that is lucky enough to win it will have a special player amongst their ranks.
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