I’ve been in denial about Eden Hazard’s poor form so far this season. However, Belgium boss Marc Wilmots’ comments about his star winger on Monday are fairly alarming for Chelsea fans.
Despite Hazard’s 86th-minute winner against Cyprus in their Euro 2016 qualifier, the 24-year-old was slated in the post-match press conference by his manager, who described Hazard as Belgium’s “worst” player and claimed that he “thought about substituting him” before he scored the winner.
I’m so very confused by it. There’s no denying the tricky Belgian was outstanding last season and at times single-handedly pulled Chelsea through tough periods towards the back-end of their campaign.
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The accolades inevitably came, with every single award heading Hazard’s way.
However, his new-found recognition seems to have gone to his head, in my opinion. The award-winner seems content with last year’s accolades as if he believes he’s already reached his potential.
Hazard suffering from a lack of confidence?
Only one assist and no goals in the opening four Premier League games is a very disappointing return from Hazard and it’s no coincidence that his poor form coincides with Chelsea being 13th in the league on four points, having already tasted defeat twice this season, just one less than in the whole of the 2014/15 campaign.
Having closely watched Chelsea’s matches so far I’ve been left feeling baffled by Hazard’s unwillingness to run at opposition defences.
Hazard is undoubtedly one of the best dribblers on the planet and can make gliding past defenders look effortless and so easy. So why is it such a rare occurrence? Lack of fitness? Lack of belief? To me, it’s a mystery and needs to change for the sake of Chelsea’s season.
Does Hazard possess the required mentality?
On numerous occasions Hazard has been upfront in distancing himself from the likes of Messi and Ronaldo as if he believes he could never reach their lofty heights. Of course, they are two phenomenal players, but surely it can’t be right that a player voted as the best in the best league in the world, doesn’t have ambitions to reach that level?
The ability is so evidently there, but perhaps mentally Hazard will never be in a place to take on the responsibility of being the world’s best. It’s clear to see that the Premier League star’s current state of mind is halting him make that step to the next level - Hazard quite obviously in my opinion isn’t a leader. Belgium have looked ordinary under his guidance, no more so than in the World Cup where they were extremely disappointing.
I’m hoping the Belgian’s two goals for his national side this week can really kick-start his season and give Chelsea the spark they so desperately need. Comments made by his manager Marc Wilmots will surely inspire the 24-year-old to once again prove his class as the best player in the Premier League and who knows with a change of mentality, maybe the world.
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