It has been five months since Eden Hazard signed for Real Madrid for £89m from Europa League winners Chelsea and finally, he is starting to remind onlookers of why he was that expensive.
After an abysmal 2018/19 season, Real Madrid made important moves to bolster the squad and find a big name Galactico who would (try to) fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo after his departure to Turin two summers ago and Eden Hazard – whose interest in Real has been no secret, was the man chosen to do so.
When he made his debut in September, the team were going through a rough patch (at the time) and looked like a side with baggage from the previous season. The atmosphere around the club heaped even more pressure on Hazard who had just come back from injury to perform and turn the corner – which didn’t help his cause.
In his first few games, he was evidently rusty and there were even rumours of him being overweight. Even when he got to full fitness after a few games, he still was playing safe and looked shackled in some way. He seemed lacking in confidence and looked to play safe rather than weave out the magic he produces occasionally from his time at Chelsea.
It’s hard to imagine a player with such quality and composure would be put off by a price tag but possibly that was the case but after his performance against Real Sociedad, it seems those shackles are finally off.
He completed a record 10 dribbles in the game, surpassing a record that was previously set by another flying winger in Arjen Robben a decade ago.
That unpredictability and brilliant touch seems to be returning in the past few games and we might be getting the old Hazard back. Don’t just ask him to score goals.
His goal against Granada was his first in 12 outings and he hasn’t scored since. Coming off the back of his most prolific Premier League Season yet, that is a disappointing stat.
Most of the goal threat has come from Karim Benzema, behind him is Rodrygo who has scored five times. Gareth Bale, who will always be a goal threat is unlikely to play for Real Madrid anytime soon so Hazard needs to step up sooner rather than later and get in amongst the goals because goal droughts can happen during the season.
One would feel it is only a matter of time before Hazard begins to find the net with a fair bit of regularity for Real Madrid and become the player we know and love but as we have seen with Antoine Griezmann, patience will be key.