Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard has revealed just how he felt when he put pen to paper on his first ever professional contract and it’s pretty much how you would expect.
Long before the Belgian international became one of the Premier League’s best at Stamford Bridge he was busy learning his trade at Lille, and recently the 24-year-old let on exactly what it meant emotionally to sign the deal that was the realisation of his childhood ambitions.
Quotes relayed by the Daily Express today confirm just what was going through Hazard’s mind when he signed the contract, having proven to Lille that he was good enough to command a place in their squad for the future when he was just 15-years-old.
"I was very happy [to sign the deal]," Hazard explained.
"My father and my mother were in the room when I signed.
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"The director of the academy was there. I was close to him.
"I was 15 and I started training with the first team then. I played my first game at 16."
The prodigal talent
As it soon became apparent the Ligue 1 club’s decision to tie him to a deal so early in his footballing career was a wise one. The winger quickly registered himself as one of their key assets, and for four seasons between 2008 and 2012 he was one of the most important players in the first-team squad.
Naturally it wasn’t long before he’d attracted the attentions of some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Only last week did former Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp confirm that he’d tried to sign the forward whilst he was in charge at White Hart Lane, and Hazard himself has previously admitted Manchester United were also in the hunt for his signature.
However ultimately it was Chelsea who convinced the prodigal playmaker that they could best serve his interests, with Roman Abramovich said to have been the deciding factor in the matter. The then-Lille star made a blockbuster £32 million switch to Stamford Bridge prior to the 2012/13 campaign, and since then he’s been nothing short of brilliant for the club.
Aside from a brief spell when Jose Mourinho was initially re-introduced to the west London fold, wherein rumours circulated that Hazard’s future was uncertain, his performances for the Blues have been consistently eye-catching, and the confirmation of his new deal - set to run until 2020 - allayed fears that he might be the subject of a colossal bid from either Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain.
Importance for the future
Just how good he might go on to be is anyone’s guess, with comparisons with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi having been drawn in the past. The diminutive Chelsea star is churning out incredible stats for his age, and could well turn out to be the difference between Mourinho’s men winning major silverware this season or not.
Chelsea fans, how important is Hazard to your cause? Do you think Mourinho would ever let him go? Let us know in the comments box below...