Why Eden Hazard’s performance vs. Granada should encourage Real Madrid fans

Ever since Real Madrid scored the match-winning goal against Elche in Copa Del Rey, there has been a slight glimmer of hope in Madridistas. It looked like Eden Hazard got the lightbulb moment he needed, and there was an increase in the expectations on the Belgian, which were seemingly zero until the Elche game.

Subsequently, he got to start in the next game against Elche as well, and had a decent game, though some fans overhyped his performance by lowering the bar. But everyone got a real shock when Hazard didn’t even play a single minute against Athletic Bilbao, as Vinicius, Rodrygo and Asensio all looked ineffective that day.

With Vini unavailable for the LaLiga game against Granada on Sunday, the fans hoped to see Hazard starting the game. But Ancelotti used Isco and Rodrygo ahead of Eden Hazard, and there was outrage on social media when the lineup was released. Maybe Ancelotti had another plan in his mind, but it became clear that the Italian rates Isco above Hazard, as a false-9, and Rodrygo as a more hard-working winger than Hazard.

Unfortunately, Carlo Ancelotti’s plan didn’t work on the field, and he had to replace Isco and Rodrygo with Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic in the second half. Hazard didn’t play as a false-9 and instead played in Rodrygo’s position as a left-winger. And Hazard proved to be the boost that was needed by the team, as he put in a determined performance against Robert Moreno’s men. Marco Asensio was the decisive player, but Hazard’s entry, combined with Valverde’s energy and Luka Jovic’s presence helped the team create a lot of danger in the final third.

Real Madrid, Eden Hazard

Real Madrid, Eden Hazard (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Eden Hazard displayed more attacking intent

Two important factors that should be considered while judging the performance of a player are intent and output. Output just doesn’t mean goals and assists, but also the danger that is created as a result of a player’s presence and activities on the field.  The word intent is self-explanatory, and we expect to see forwards aiming to attack, attack and just attack, especially when the team is drawing or losing a game and desperately needs a moment of inspiration.

Hazard had shown his intent in every single touch, pass and take on yesterday. Sometimes he succeeded in creating danger, and he made his presence felt. There was verticality in his passing, and he released Jovic into the box with an excellent through ball just minutes after coming on, following a sequence of brilliant combinational play with the Serbian and Fede Valverde. He could’ve got an assist, but Jovic’s shot hit the side-netting.

He passed the ball around at a higher pace, even when the team was leading, and he ran into space and towards the defenders at speed, attracting fouls. Mateu Lahoz awarded a penalty to Real Madrid for a foul on Hazard, before quickly overturning it to a free-kick, and rightly so. He created another chance for Jovic late in the game, with a cutback to the striker after beating two defenders down the left. Not to forget his defensive contribution, as he recovered well to help Marcelo.

Every move from Hazard had the word “positive intent” written on it, and even the numbers suggest the same. According to Sofascore, Hazard had two key passes from his 13 passes and 20 touches, completed a dribble, and drew 2 fouls from Granada.

Real Madrid, Eden Hazard

Real Madrid, Eden Hazard (Photo by Alvaro Medranda/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Eden Hazard’s future is uncertain, but this was a positive

The only thing missing was a goal or an assist, which could’ve helped Hazard make it a memorable performance. It is an encouraging performance nonetheless, and it did give us Madridistas some more reasons to believe in Eden Hazard. His future is unclear at the moment, though Carlo Ancelotti said that Hazard is there in Real Madrid’s plans for the next season. His future depends on the board members sitting at the top, and the Belgian himself, as Mbappe’s possible arrival makes things difficult.

But we have to live in the present, and currently, Hazard is definitely sending a positive message to the fans with these encouraging performances. A big month is coming up, and we might need the same Hazard, if not a better version, to step up in the upcoming crucial fixtures.