Sliding from 2015 hero into one of the most epic downfalls to tarnish his Stamford Bridge legacy
- Eden Hazard jeered by Chelsea fans at Champions League defeat by PSG
- Hazard said last month a move to PSG would be ‘hard to turn down’
- 25-year-old insisted he is content at Chelsea despite poor form this season
- Belgian, on £200,000 per week, joined Chelsea from Lille for £32m in 2012
When Eden Hazard leaves, as seems inevitable this summer, he will be remembered one of two ways for his four-year stay at Stamford bridge.
Either as the winger who made the clean sweep of the Player of the Year awards, leading Chelsea to the Barclays Premier League title in 2015. Or as the man who went AWOL as Chelsea embarked on the worst title defence in history the year after.
Right now, you’d have to say the latter for the 25-year-old on £200,000 per week.
Chelsea winger Eden Hazard has endured a torrid season for the Blues after such an impressive 2014-15
Last season’s Player of the Year Hazard leaves the field as Chelsea crash out of the Champions League
Hazard poses with his PFA Player of the Year award having led Chelsea to the Premier League title in 2015
We know the talent is there. Last season, he went past players for fun and dominated games with his dribbling. This year, though, he’s been a ghost.
Hazard was slammed by his own supporters and picked on by pundits after Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night, and Chelsea’s interim manager Guus Hiddink was blunt too.
‘They have the right to boo whatever they think,’ Hiddink said, not bothering to defend the indefensible.
When he limped off against PSG after 77 minutes, there was polite applause, the type where fans felt obliged to put their hands together. The jeers, though, were there for all to hear, Hazard included.
If he returned to Stamford Bridge with Real Madrid or PSG – the two clubs that apparently want him, despite his downturn – would he be welcomed back with open arms?
As a hero, like Didier Drogba when he came back with Galatasaray, or Frank Lampard with Manchester City?
Hazard infuriated the Chelsea fans after swapping shirts with Angel di Maria (right) at half-time on Wednesday
The 25-year-old (second right) jogs off the Stamford Bridge pitch at half-time holding di Maria’s PSG shirt
Hazard, linked with PSG and Real Madrid, kissed the Chelsea badge having scored at MK Dons in January
EDEN HAZARD AT CHELSEA
- Eden Hazard joined the Blues in a £32 million move from Lille in 2012.
- The 25-year-old has scored 51 goals 197 appearances for the west London club.
- The Belgian won the 2014/15 PFA Player of the Season award as he helped Chelsea win the Premier League title.
- Hazard has also picked up the League Cup and the Europa League in his time at Stamford Bridge.
After this season, you’d suspect not, with Chelsea’s fans more inclined to jeer than cheer.
One supporter on social media called him a ‘spineless sulky snake’ after Wednesday, and that is a taster for how he is seen around Stamford Bridge at present.
He kissed the badge at MK Dons but that means nothing if you cannot put the ball in the back of the net or on a plate for Diego Costa.
Luis Suarez won Player of the Year in 2013-14 and only got better. Gareth Bale did the same the year before too. Others on the list include Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and so on.
The Belgian international signed for the west London club in 2012 for £32million from French side Lille
25-year-old poses with the Capital One Cup (left) alongside team-mate Thibaut Courtois in March 2015
Hazard was being likened to Ronaldo by Jose Mourinho in pre-season, making his fall from grace all the more dramatic, even worse than Fernando Torres after his £50million move from Liverpool to Chelsea.
But how much will Chelsea get if they sell Hazard?
Real Madrid and PSG don’t want the wool pulling over their eyes. If they are to pay a top price, they want a top player – not one who has zero goals in 26 appearances in the Premier League.
Hazard was the creative catalyst last season as he inspired Chelsea to win the Premier League title
They can point to his poor form to suggest the £80m price tag that was once mentioned should be cut to £60m, or even less if they are to bring his four years at Chelsea to an end.
In that time, Hazard had two good seasons, one remarkable, and one disastrous.
If he does go this summer, leaving Chelsea behind with no Champions League football to play next season, then his legacy will surely not be how he led them to the title but how he let it go so easily.
The Blues winger clashed with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho (right) during a torrid start to the season
The 25-year-old struggled once again for Chelsea on Wednesday night and was jeered when substituted
Source: Daily Mail