More motivated and fitter than ever: will this finally be Eden Hazard’s year? | Primera Division

Asking the question has almost become taboo. But could this finally be the year of Eden Hazard (31)? Seemingly fitter and more motivated than ever at Real Madrid. Tonight his season of truth starts with the European Supercup.

One photo was enough to spark the enthusiasm of the Royal supporters.

Eden Hazard reported remarkably sharp at Valdebebas, the training center of Real, in mid-July. The contrast with the arrival images from 2019 – when the record transfer dragged 5 kilos overweight – is simply undeniable.

The Spanish sports newspaper AS recently even devoted an entire front page to it: “Por fin Hazard!”, Hazard finally! With a large photo on the cover showing the contours of his muscles.

So Eden kept his word.

During the prize party in May, he already shouted a striking promise through the microphone: “Madridistas, I have been here for three years and have suffered many injuries. But next year I will give everything!”

vamos.

Mascot

Three years in the Spanish capital filled Hazard’s trophy cabinet, but did not in the least meet expectations. Base places came only sporadically. There were even fewer decisive actions.

It is telling that the attacker only played his first Clásico against Barcelona in the most recent preparation. But a promo match in Texas is of course not a clash in Bernabéu or Camp Nou…

The stamp of “mascot” who couldn’t contribute in the big moments gnawed at Hazard, who at the age of 31 wants to prove that he still has his place at the international top.

No better year before that than one with a World Cup, right?

In the cup, it is already good with Hazard. And physically there is also improvement after years full of injuries.

The dribbling butt had the metal plate – which he said was hindering him – removed from his cursed ankle in March. That seemed the right choice based on the preparatory matches.

“I’m feeling fit again,” Hazard told ESPN. “I can do what I want on the field again. Hopefully I will stay fit for two or three years now, so that I can enjoy the game a bit.”

Calendar and tight core

But does Hazard have any prospects of playing opportunities with the Champions League winner?

Well, the circumstances are more favorable than expected. In the front, the wash is remarkably thin at Real Madrid. First and foremost, the Royal grabbed next to dream target Kylian Mbappé a few months ago.

There was no alternative. With Isco, Gareth Bale and Luka Jovic, some competitors even left for the positions at the front. Karim Benzema is just about the only remaining deep striker.

It tempted trainer Carlo Ancelloti to put Hazard forward in a role as a false number 9.

“Eden will have opportunities this season anyway,” said Diego Torres, Real-watcher at El Pais.

“Benzema and the Brazilians (Vinicius and Rodrygo, ed.) are the favorites of the chairman, but they can certainly not play everything in the upcoming busy season. The calendar and the tight core will rotate. Then it is up to Hazard to stand up. He could become really important.”

The calendar and the tight core will rotate. Then it’s up to Hazard to stand up.

Diego Torres, Real watcher at El Pais.

Because nobody doubts his qualities in Madrid, despite the difficult years. Now stay fit and grab the opportunities that come with both hands.

“Hazard has to want to give up this season, fight for his place in the team,” emphasizes Torres. “It’s now or never for him at Real.”

Tonight the hunt for reparation begins.

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