Eden Hazard has officially apologised to Real Madrid fans.
The Belgian winger was widely panned by supporters of the European giants after they crashed out of the Champions League semi-finals with a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard was one of the most active players in Zinedine Zidane’s line-up, but couldn’t do enough to stop Timo Werner and Mason Mount’s goals from sending Chelsea through to the final.
Hazard laughing with Chelsea players
However, regardless of the result, it was Hazard’s behaviour after the final whistle that had both Real Madrid fans and the Spanish press emitting steam from their ears in anger.
That’s because Hazard was seen laughing and joking with Edouard Mendy and Kurt Zouma at full-time, raising suggestions that he wasn’t taking such a crucial game for Real seriously.
In fact, footage of Spanish television show El Chiringuito quickly went viral for its damning assessment of Hazard’s actions complete with earnest expressions and overdramatic music.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid match reaction (Football Terrace)
Hazard apologises to Real fans
And while the reaction has certainly been over the top in places, there’s no denying that such a jovial exchange didn’t reflect favourably after such a crucial and crushing defeat for Zidane’s men.
However, Hazard has sought to clarify the situation and rebuff those suggestions by posting an apology message on his Instagram story less than 24 hours after the crushing defeat – check it out:
Is that a good enough explanation for you, Madristas?
Hazard struggling at the Bernabeu
At the end of the day, you’ve got to credit Hazard for taking responsibility for his actions and it certainly feels like the situation has been exacerbated because of his overall career in Spain.
Besides, injury after injury after injury have made for a brutal two seasons at the Bernabeu, limiting him to just 40 appearances and four goals for the 13-time European champions.
As a result, the sight of Hazard joking around with his former teammates was always going to go down like a lead balloon, heaping more coal on the prevailing narrative of his Spanish endeavour.
Is that unfair or heavy-handed? We’ll let you decide, but one can’t help feeling that the only way Hazard can truly change the tide of opinion is by delivering the goods on the pitch.