Eden Hazard has always been an incredibly confident player.
Hazard went on to carve out a spectacular career with Lille before continuing that path in the Premier League with Chelsea.
By the time the Belgian left Ligue 1, his individual honours included two Young Player of the Year awards, four Player of the Month awards, two Player of the Year awards and the winger named in the league’s Team of the Year three times.
Hazard had also helped Lille claim their first league title since the 1953-54 season and a Coupe de France after helping the club reach the final for the first time since 1955.
Not bad for a player that had left the league by the age of 21.
But before any of that, Hazard was once a cocky 16-year-old who had just been promoted into the club’s first team after some impressive performances for the reserve side. But according to an ex-teammate, the senior players didn’t appreciate the youngster’s attitude when he first arrived.
Lille defender Gregory Tafforeau once revealed an incredible story of how Eden Hazard was punched on two separate occasions by older teammates shortly after his arrival.
Tafforeau told 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.
“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.”
It was a pretty brutal introduction to senior football for the 16-year-old.
But whether you consider this treatment harsh or not, it clearly helped the youngster knuckle down during his time in France. Hazard is known for his casual attitude when it comes to his football career, with many claiming down the years that the Belgian could have been even greater than he has been with a more serious attitude.
Perhaps without these events Hazard may not have gone on to achieve such incredible feats with Lille, or secure his eventual transfer to the Premier League. So maybe we actually owe a thank you to Franck Beria and Nicolas Plestan for their treatment of the Belgian superstar.