The Curious Case of Hazard
Young, skillful, often swashbuckling, always amiable and probably ambitious but sometimes inconsistent and looked rather disinterested most of the time in Brazil; why did Eden flop so spectacularly at the FIFA World Cup?
Maybe it was the tropical weather? Too hot to hand him enough warmth to shine and dazzle, if not bamboozle and blitz unsuspecting defenders as usual?
Maybe one can blame his off-colour performance on the colourfully noisy Brazilian fans who have so far made each of the 61 Match Days such a beautiful carnival of football-drunk nations and festival of the beautiful game - lively crowds who could have constituted a distraction?
Perhaps it was the team chemistry glaringly lacking within the Belgium squad or dearth of a distinct style and system of play [un]employed by coach Marc Wilmots?
Just what hit Eden?
Surely there was no Jose Mourinho somewhere in the crowd with a remote control trying to stop, shackle or 'malcoach' him from playing football... at least from what I'd been watching on TV anyway.
Whatever it was though, one thing is undebatable - Eden Hazard had a World Cup to forget, at least by his high standards.
It's forlorn to try to defend the indefensible; there's no need for that, no, there's none as that would be one futile exercise too futile to try. The Chelsea Player of the Year and England PFA Young Player of the Year 2014, KOed at the quarter final stage by Lionel Messi's Argentina was supposed to be the Belgium so-called 'golden generation' poster boy and one of the stars of the show, and while it can be argued World Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo was the highest profile flop in town, it must not be swept under the carpet that Eden Hazard's dismally poor output of zero goal and two assists in his debut World Cup was the poorest return of all participants with his kind of reputation; even the much maligned Oscar has so far got a goal and three assists, and counting.
Inasmuch as the general indictment is that all 6 Belgium goals at the World Cup always came uncomfortably too late in a match, precisely usually after the 70th minute mark, the new Chelsea no.10 - if he ever introspects - has got to be personally embarrassed and mad at himself for what he's done or failed to do to lift his country on his back like the other no.10 and 6-goal hero, who singlehandedly scored as many goals as the entire Belgium national team, James Rodriguez did for Columbia. If not then something is seriously amiss, and that's just not good enough; not for him, not for his confidence, not for this writer's comfort and certainly not for Chelsea's ambitions.
The jury is still out back in England, and I'm sure Eden knows just how unpatronizing they can be; as a Chelsea player he must know the drill though.Besides, with the Twitter meltdown and public outcry following his substitution which marked the end of his abysmal 'campaign' in Brazil, he's simply got to buckle up and get back to form, especially now that the summer transfer window is well and truly wide open.
I'm not sure if it is such a great idea to allow Tottenham grab Memphis Depay or Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez - two guys I see as more athletic and quicker versions of Eden - one sure thing I learnt from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ is that our lauded POTY and England PFA YPOTY is far from the player we all want him to be or think he is, and that he needs serious support as well as competition back at Chelsea Football Club.
What did you make of Hazard's showing in Brazil?