Eden Hazard is an exceptional talent. Chelsea are full of those but the Belgian is their star man.
As Chelsea languished in Paris, the Belgian was the Blues’s stand-out performer. He showcased his ability to influence big matches, running PSG right-back Christophe Jallet ragged and using his strength to hold up the ball. He, under immense Parisian pressure, called upon his ice-cool composure to send Sirigu helplessly sprawling in the wrong direction from the spot and also struck the post with a technically excellent volley during a particularly impressive first-half.
During the previous campaign, Hazard’s undoubted talent delivered in inconsistent spurts. He would deservedly collect the Man Of The Match accolade one week and go anonymous the other. Now, however, his talent is coming to the fore – consistently.
His progression from a mere young talent to a world-class winger considered amongst the elite of the revered game is a result of Jose Mourinho’s wonderful propensity to individually improve his players. May it be through his intriguing ego or unique strategies in which to galvanise, it has certainly proved its functional value in Hazard’s case.
The 23 year-old has developed in quality and maturity under the sagacious eyes of Mourinho. Before the Portuguese’s return to Stamford Bridge, the sight of Hazard bursting a gut to track the opposing full-back was inexistent. He bore the”bad trainer” tag, borne out of his unfashionable tendency to needlessly lose concentration and train half-heartedly. The difference a year can make.
He has also added goals to his game, with his 13 league goals helping propel the Londoners into genuine contention for the Premier League title. His first hat-rick since his £32m move from Lille, in February against Newcastle, underlined the dramatic improvement he has made, which has been wonderful to watch.
Hazard recently spoke of his strong desire to one day win football’s most prestigious individual accolade – the FIFA Ballon d’Or. Cristiano Ronaldo, through his unquenchable thirst to improve, accomplished the feat and Hazard seems to be following the Real Madrid’s star’s golden route.
Mourinho conceded the importance Hazard holds for his team, claiming he would select the Belgian regardless of fatigue due to his ability to change games. Having a world-class player in a squad will inevitably result to an element of dependence laid on the individual’s shoulders, but Mourinho indicated his side’s complete reliance on the Belgian.