During Hazard’s time with Chelsea, he was arguably the best player in the Premier League, and beyond doubt the most outstanding player for us. He had a great impact on every trophy Chelsea won. Upon his departure, the fan base was rife with talk of resulting chaos, and the odds that Chelsea would have a successful 2019/20 campaign diminished.
Hazard spent 7 years at Chelsea and won 6 trophies overall. He scored 110 goals in 352 games across all competitions. He produced some truly magical moments for the club. His left-footed screamer from 25 yards out against Stoke City comes to mind, where the 4-0 win inflicted Stoke’s first home defeat of the season. Another spectacular moment is when he came off the bench to score a stunning solo goal in stoppage time against Sparta Prague in a Europa League knockout stage match, which sent Chelsea through to the round of 16.
Hazard to Madrid
“I’ve dreamt about this since I was little, I always supported Real Madrid. Then I went to France and England and wearing this shirt now is a true honour.”
Hazard claimed to have always wanted to play for Real Madrid, aided by the fact that club legend and current Head Coach Zinedine Zidane was his football idol: “Everyone knows that Zidane was my idol and now he’s my coach. He’s been an important factor, but I’ve always wanted to play for this club.”
How Chelsea dealt with the loss of their star player
The Chelsea board of directors made the decision to bring in Frank Lampard as manager. He is the man the fans wanted; someone whose passion and commitment to the club is unmatched.
The pain of losing Hazard was slightly diminished by the club handing fan favourites Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek – both of whom were a part of Hazard’s last season at Chelsea – new contracts. Hazard himself always spoken highly of the young players, admiring their talents and potentials.
Chelsea also brought in the young American talent Christian Pulisic. Pulisic was not necessarily tasked with being Hazard’s replacement, but another young, creative winger who can possess the ball in tight spaces, squeeze a pass through defenders to streaking teammates and make intuitive runs is the type of player you want in your squad.
Previously loaned players and academy talents now had the opportunity to showcase their skills at Stamford Bridge. The young players stepped up to the task, and despite the ups and downs, there is no debate that they’ve had a tremendous impact on the team so far. Perhaps the youngsters have not overachieved, but it’s comforting to note they did not under-perform, either.
Chelsea overhauled the roster to find a new path to success post-Hazard. No one player could match the magic and results of Hazard. Yet rather than finding a Hazard replacement, it looks like Lampard tailored the squad to be Hazard’s replacement. Fans can acknowledge that taking the pressure of creating chances off the wingers (especially expecting one winger to create all the chances) has been influential in coping with the loss of Hazard. Admittedly, Hazard was Chelsea’s main player in recent years, and when we don’t get the results because we needed one player to take the game over, it’s impossible to not think about how Hazard was that player for Chelsea. But to replace a player that is a replaceable, the club is dealt with his loss in a fashionable style.