Hazard’s exit will signal the loss of Chelsea’s one true world-class player
‘I think it’s a goodbye’. The parting words of one of Chelsea’s greatest ever players. When Eden Hazard delivered another virtuoso performance on Wednesday to seal the Europa League, many Blues fans would have been forgiven for focusing more on the realisation that the talismanic Belgian may just have played his last game for the club. And whilst the events in Baku will live long in the memory of Chelsea supporters, with Hazard’s imminent departure, it may also be remembered as the beginning of the end of the club’s trophy-laden years.
According to Spanish publication AS (via Sport Witness), Hazard is set to complete his long-awaited switch to Real Madrid and that the 28-year-old will likely be presented to the fans of the Santiago Bernabeu club next week. In a season riddled with managerial turmoil and player rebellion at Stamford Bridge, Hazard has virtually single-handedly dragged this stuttering and stumbling Blues side to a third-placed finish in the Premier League and a European title too. Maurizio Sarri’s side have had Hazard to thank on numerous occasions this season for rescuing them, and you shudder to think where the west London side would have ended up had they not had the forward.
The truly great players step up when the side needs it, when they have their backs against the wall and there appears to be no way out. Hazard embraced the pressure of being Chelsea’s leading man and relished the responsibility of simply being given the ball and told to make a bit of magic. And invariably, the forward often did.
Even this season, the former Lille star scored one of the goals of the season when his solo run against West Ham ended with a fantastic finish. When the Blues were trailing 1-0 to Wolves in March, and Nuno Espirito Santo’s side were shutting up shop in the closing minutes of the game, who else stepped up but Hazard, to fire home through a crowd of bodies and score a frantic last-minute equaliser to snatch a draw. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. And Eden Hazard has well and truly been ‘the’ man at Stamford Bridge.
As the saying goes, you only miss something when it’s gone. But in the case of Eden Hazard and Chelsea, even the most ardent of Blues fans will know just how much of a hole the Belgian will leave when he finally confirms his move to Madrid. From euphoria to heartbreak, Hazard’s parting gift on Wednesday will forever be laced with a tinge of sadness, as the Blues say goodbye to one of their greatest ever.
Chelsea fans, how big of a miss will Hazard be to the side? Where does he rank amongst the club’s greats? Join the discussion by commenting below…