We have all seen this – a young player is hyped too much before a big transfer and he turns out to be a massive disappointment. After just 12 months, one can safely say that it is not the case with Eden Hazard. Mesmerising dribbles, stunning goals, great assists, and incredible vision have truly helped this 22-year-old become a hit at Stamford Bridge.
A return of 13 goals and 26 assists in his first season is just spectacular considering his age, transfer fee, and his inexperience in the Premier league. Yet, Chelsea manager José Mourinho thinks that Hazard can improve even more.
“Hazard has a lot of talent, as everybody knows, and now he has to move from great talent to great numbers because football is about numbers. You can do anything because you have more talent than the others, so go for it.
“I am ready to help him, and he must be ready too ” – Mourinho on Hazard.
When he was making his name at Lille, Hazard was often compared with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Mourinho says that in order for Hazard to be regarded along the same breath as Ronaldo and Messi, he has to score more goals. In the past, Mourinho is thought to have restricted his technical players like Joe Cole from performing their party tricks on the pitch. Victory was more important for Mourinho than flair.
“He’s more like Messi. He’s small, can beat players and has a low centre of gravity. He has pure pace and is capable of beating three or four opponents in a flash.” – Former Lille manager Claude Puel.
Now, Mourinho says that he is ready to allow his best technical players like Hazard total freedom on the pitch. This includes trying to get past defenders, scoring, and generally creating more things on the pitch. Of course, this may at times lead to Chelsea losing the possession, but it may in turn help bring out the best in Hazard.
Hazard undoubtedly has the talent to become one of the best in the world. It is not easy to get praise from world-class players, but that is exactly what Hazard has had from the likes of Zinedine Zidane in the past.
“I told myself – this player is different. He is a player with enormous personality on the pitch.
“He gives you pleasure. What he does at his age impresses me,” said Zidane a few years ago.
Much of Mourinho’s tactics at Real Madrid were counter-attacking in order to take advantage of Ronaldo’s presence. This worked to the favour of Ronaldo and there is no reason why it should not for Hazard as well.
For all Eden Hazard fans, watch this special Eden Hazard compilation.