As the dust settled on a gruelling but ultimately successful season in west London for Chelsea, one thought stood out in my mind – the Blues possess a gem in the form of Eden Hazard.
The Blues were left without the dynamic Belgian towards the end of the season, and his absence shun through in the games where the 22-year-old was on the sidelines.
Ruled out with a calf strain, it was visible that the lack of pace had harried and slowed the tempo at which Chelsea usually attack, and most notably counterattack.
Hazard’s dazzling feet and exquisite eye for a pass has prompted the Stamford Bridge faithful to form a unique bond with the man who Chelsea fought so hard to acquire in the summer of 2012.
Not only has his relationship with the fans been extremely interesting, but his sublime exhilarating understanding with fellow playmaker, Juan Mata has been something which has flourished since the first day he arrived from Lille for a reported fee of £32m.
His young age, extraordinary change of pace, gripping shot, and unfathomable ability to cause problems for any goalkeeper with both feet have all culminated in forming a special type of excitement for the upcoming season.
Mata and Oscar are both world class, great players who will go on to continue serving Chelsea at the highest level, but there is a certain quality Hazard has to suggest that he will go on to achieve things that not many footballers do in their careers.
One major factor which has contributed in providing this glowing complement and heavy expectation is Hazard’s increasingly impressive performances for his country.
Before the skilful man from La Louvière joined the club he was widely criticised for not replicating his club form for his country, this was reinforced with his dull performance against England in Wembley on June 3.
However, since then Hazard has certainly turned around the overall opinion of himself in a Belgian jersey by being particularly prolific in the international friendlies which took place in March, by netting three goals in two games.
This success on the national stage is something that great players such as Zidane – who spoke highly of Hazard’s talents – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had developed later on in their careers, rather than in their first season at a top club in Europe.
With all these factors combined, it makes for an anxious wait for the start of the 2013/14 season to begin.
Hopefully everyone at Chelsea can continue to monitor, and seemingly admire, the progress of one of the world’s most promising young footballers.
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