Eden Hazard has been forced to play through the pain barrier for Chelsea this season as Guus Hiddink continues to select him despite an ongoing groin problem, according to his father.
The Belgian has endured a dismal season at Stamford Bridge and appears to have emerged as the symbol of Chelsea's infamous demise. While few players in the team have done themselves proud, Hazard's dramatic fall from grace has hit fans the hardest.
His struggle seemed to reach a new level on Wednesday evening when he struggled to make an impact against Paris Saint-Germain in a Champions League knockout game. When he was substituted in the second-half, the Chelsea faithful took it upon themselves to boo him.
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But Thierry Hazard has stuck up for his son, claiming he has been unable to hit his usual heights because Chelsea have not given him the rest he needed to recover from a groin injury.
Hazard, of course, suffered just such an injury against Crystal Palace in January, but it appears as though the root cause of that problem went back much further and remains present to the current day.
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Forcing him to play
"The current displays of Eden have been hindered because of injury, an inflammation of the groin, which has troubled him for three or four months,' he told Le Soir.
"It's not serious but the pain, when it comes, is throbbing. It's like a stabbing feeling.
"It had already happened earlier in the match (against PSG) before he asked to be replaced.
"Instead of giving him time to rest and recover properly, they made Eden play, mostly because this was a very important match. He had no choice."
This explains everything, doesn't it?
Well, thanks for that, Thierry. That clearly explains why Hazard has looked a shadow of the man that won the PFA Player of the Year last season. No, we think not. So bad has the 25-year-old's form been, it would require more than just a sore groin to justify a complete meltdown on this scale.
What is more likely is that Hazard has lost his motivation to play for the Blues. It is widely believed he has been angling for a move away all season and has even admitted that he is open to moving to PSG.
Real Madrid are also rumoured to be interested, but it is hard to see them forking out a large fee for a man who has played so poorly, especially when they could probably sign Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a similar price.
Chelsea are believed to be demanding as much as £80m for his signature, but they would be lucky to get half that at this point in time.
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