Football

Eden Hazard: Player of the Year contender

Hazard can become the Premier League's best (©GettyImages)
Hazard can become the Premier League's best (©GettyImages).

Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award at the end of last season - but this term he could well go one better.

The 22-year-old arrived at Stamford Bridge last summer in a £32m move from Lille, where he forged a huge reputation for himself after being crowned the Ligue 1 Player of the Year for a second consecutive season.

Big things were expected of the Belgium international, who did little to ease the expectation on his shoulders by making somewhat of a soap opera out of his move to the Premier League via his Twitter account, and it's fair to say that he didn't disappoint.

Hazard made an instant impact: showcasing his extraordinary talent in the opening games of last season, providing a handful of assists and getting himself on the scoresheet, much to the delight of the Chelsea faithful. 

They knew a genuine world-class talent had arrived.

Hazard would go on to play an exhausting 62 times for the Blues in his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge, scoring 13 goals and contributing a remarkable 25 assists in all competitions. Value for money at £32m, you'd have to say.

Rather than Hazard, though, it was his Spanish team-mate Juan Mata who stole the headlines last season - and rightfully so.

Mata was Chelsea's most consistent player, but Hazard certainly hadn't gone under the radar.

Although he didn't require a bedding-in period, like most youngsters who join Premier League teams from overseas clubs, there's no doubt that the best is still to come from Hazard, who will be much much stronger and well-prepared for the next nine months thanks to last season's experiences.

Add to this the fact Jose Mourinho knows how to maximise the potential of his most talented players: he proved it at Porto with Deco, at Chelsea with Frank Lampard, at Inter with Wesley Sneijder and, most recently, at Real Madrid with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Hazard can become the next world star to flourish under Mourinho's management, with the player himself determined to reach the super-human levels of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

If Chelsea win the title this season, Hazard will inevitably have played a key role - and don't be surprised if he's crowned PFA Player of the Year before heading off to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup finals next summer.

Topics:
Premier League
Football
Chelsea
Eden Hazard

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