Real Madrid: Don’t stop believing in Eden Hazard

Real Madrid, Eden Hazard (Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Eden Hazard (Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

Eden Hazard will make his return to Real Madrid soon, and while the injuries are frustrating, Madridistas must keep the faith.

Real Madrid left winger Eden Hazard gave the team a brief glimpse of his superstar power this season in between injuries. Los Blancos came back from down 2-0 to rescue a point against Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League, with Hazard playing a starring role off the bench in his first appearance of the season.

And then that weekend, Hazard opened the scoring with a thunderbolt from beyond the box to give Real a lead they would relinquish in what ended up a 4-1 win over Huesca. Likewise, Hazard was excellent in both Champions League victories over Inter Milan.

Since losing to Shakhtar Donetsk, Real Madrid are winners of five straight games as they prepare to take on Granada on Wednesday evening at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. They have won each of those matches without Hazard, thanks to the elite play of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Karim Benzema, who is back in top form. Lucas Vazquez has been a welcome surprise to the attack, too.

Vinicius Junior’s had his ups and downs, but he played well last week against Athletic Bilbao. And with Vini dealing with an illness over the weekend, Rodrygo Goes stepped up as the starter on the left, producing a world-class assist in the first six minutes of the match for Benzema.

However, there is no replacing Hazard. Vinicius and Rodrygo can be world-class one day, with Rodrygo looking the most likely to be “the future” on the wings for Real Madrid. In the present, though, even Rodrygo, who is further along than most U21 players, is not quite there yet.

Hazard is a cut above the rest. He brings a different level of class to Real Madrid with his unstoppable dribbling ability, keen awareness off the ball, and ability to lead the attack and bring others into play. As we saw against Huesca, his out-of-nowhere goal-scoring magic is unlike anyone else’s in La Liga, aside from Enemy No. 1 Lionel Messi of course.

He is Real’s superstar player. For years, Hazard tortured Premier League defenses with his teasing runs, mazy dribbles, and accomplished finishes. On an international stage, we are surely all familiar with Hazard’s ability to carry Belgium and shine in the spotlight and pressure. That is important at Real Madrid, and Hazard can do it. He just needs to be healthy.

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As we head into 2021, it is easy to be doubtful, skeptical, or downright done with the questions about Hazard’s health. Do not give up, though. When Hazard is on the pitch, Real are indisputably better off. So imagine how good Los Blancos can be in the thick of the Champions League knockout stages and the back-and-forth title race with rivals Atletico Madrid when Hazard in the squad and his teammates are playing at THIS level.

Hazard is the key to Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid playing like the dominant force we have come to expect.