953 days after being unveiled as a Real Madrid player for the first time, Eden Hazard delivered a game-winning goal worth praising. Eden Hazard delivered a game-winning goal that looked impossible not just in this match specifically, but looked impossible in his Real Madrid career.
A stint of bad injury lucky and falling out of favor with manager Carlo Ancelotti – the ‘Hazard Project’ in the Spanish capital looked like it was coming to an unsatisfying, bleak end not a week ago.
The former Chelsea stalwart did not feature as Real Madrid rolled to its 12th Supercopa de Espana title in Saudi Arabia. The manager has been emphatic that the number seven has simply not been good enough to warrant a spot in the starting XI over Vinicius Junior.
For both the player and the club in this Copa del Rey Round of 16 match, the cards seemed to be stacked against Los Blancos. Elche was getting the phantom calls – the Toni Kroos yellow card and Marcelo’s straight red in extra time are just a couple of examples – and had the lead heading into the second half of extra time.
With a goal and man advantage, all hope looked lost for the visitors. However, a lucky deflection by Isco on a Dani Ceballos shot/pass suddenly leveled the match, and hope was restored.
It wasn’t an all-around world-class performance from the talented Belgian, but his run – plus David Alaba’s beautiful through ball and the finish – were more than enough to earn Eden Hazard the winner and for once, a moment in the sun.
Just how much did it mean to Eden Hazard and his teammates?
Look no further than the celebrations on the bench, on the field, and the roar from the crowd in Alicante. Need further proof? Take a peek at the comments on Hazard’s Instagram post to see nearly every Real Madrid supporting and cheering on the heavily criticized player.
It might be a bit early to start digging into the ‘will this turn his time in Madrid around?’ topic, but for now, Eden Hazard can bask in the glow of success and praise.
He made a tremendous run in a game where Real Madrid looked to be beaten, rounded the keeper, and scored by far the most important goal of his time with the club. We fans were looking for a moment to point to in Hazard’s time in Madrid where we could say, ‘you see that? He is actually worth all those millions of euros!’
We finally have that!