Football

Eden Hazard.

Ex-Lille defender reveals why Hazard was punched twice after first training session

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It's incredible to think that Eden Hazard, aged 26, still hasn't reached his full potential.

Since joining Chelsea from Lille back in 2012, the Belgian has come on leaps and bounds and emerged as one of the world's best in his position.

And the scary thing is, Hazard's development isn't even complete yet. He's been fantastic under Antonio Conte this season but there's a sense that the best is still to come.

Eleven goals and four assists in the Premier League thus far have fired Chelsea to top of the table and 10 points above their closest challengers (Tottenham).

Hazard, alongside Diego Costa and Pedro in a revamped attacking trio, has been nigh-on unstoppable and seems to be improving with every game.

It hasn't always been so easy for the Belgium international, though.

His senior career began back in 2007 at Lille where, having started the season in the club's reserve side, he made the step up to the first team in November with a debut against Nancy.

That was when the problems started. Hazard, being a typically cocky and confident young winger, didn't make the best of impressions during his first ever senior training session with Lille.

In fact, so unimpressed were Lille's players that two of them actually punched Hazard during his first couple of days in the senior side.

Montpellier's defender Xavier Collin (R)

That's according to former Lille defender Gregory Tafforeau, who has recalled a quite incredible story of how Hazard had run-ins with a few of the clubs players.

He said, per The Sun: "Hazard turned up for his first Lille training session with his socks rolled down, his laces undone and without shinpads.

"As for his standard, he trained as though he was a club veteran. That annoyed the senior players. Soon afterwards I could hear voices being raised in the fitness room and I heard a loud whack.

"I went in and saw Eden holding his cheek. Franck Beria, one of our star players, was there and his eyes were bloodshot with rage.

Lille's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard r

"It turned out Eden had bumped into Franck in the city centre and taken the mickey out of him in front of everyone.

"Two days later he got another good slap from our defender Nicolas Plestan. The lad was in tears. From then on we noticed a change in his attitude."

Brutal. Lille's players were so frustrated with Hazard that, rather than just have a word, they tried to kick some discipline into him - literally.

And it clearly worked. Hazard went on to become a star at Lille and has since made a name for himself at Chelsea in arguably the world's toughest domestic league.

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Topics:
Eden Hazard
Chelsea
Didier Drogba
Diego Costa
Football
Frank Lampard

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