Eden Hazard's rise over the past couple of years has been meteoric, with the Belgian
starlet undergoing a remarkable transformation from precocious Lille youngster to Ligue 1
sensation and one of the most sought after players in Europe. The fleet-footed attacking
midfielder/winger has drawn comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but
perhaps the greatest compliment has been the willingness of the Belgian press to
proclaim that Hazard has what it takes to fill the enormous boots left by the legendary
Enzo Schifo.
Born into a footballing family, Hazard's youth career took in Belgian sides Royal Stade
Brainois and Tubize before he settled at Lille as a 14-year-old in 2005. Two years later,
and the teenage prodigy had made his debut in the French top flight, going on to make
a handful of substitute appearances in the 2007-08 season. The following campaign
was a real breakthrough year though, as he went from impact sub to first-team
talisman in the space of a few months - with his sparkling performances earning him
an international debut for Belgium and the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year Award.
The plaudits continued to roll in last season and Hazard was tied down to a new four-
year contract with Lille in an attempt to stave off interest from some of Europe's
biggest clubs. With five league goals and eight assists, Hazard became his side's
creator-in-chief and his influential displays, coupled with Europa League goals against
Genoa, Gent and a winner against Liverpool, saw his reputation continue to grow
around the continent.
Hazard's start to the 2010-11 campaign was a troubled one as he was publicly
criticised by Belgium national team coach Georges Leekens, who accused him of being
lazy in training, and he was also dropped by Lille coach Rudi Garcia. He didn't start a
league game for Lille until November but has now re-established himself as an
integral member of the first-team, causing a number of Europe's big clubs to show an
interest, with Chelsea sealing his signature in the summer of 2012.
Strengths: A defender's nightmare, Hazard can dribble at pace and, like Lionel Messi,
he is 5ft 7in and has a low centre of gravity that helps him breeze past opposition
players. He has an eye for the spectacular and has scored some memorable solo
Weaknesses: Hazard's work-rate has questioned by his club and national team
bosses, so much so that Lille coach Rudi Garcia dropped him earlier this season in a
bid to spark him back into life. His strike-rate is also somewhat erratic and while he
creates plenty of goals for others, he must start to score more himself.
Career high: Becoming the first non-French player to win the Ligue 1 Young Player of
the Year Award in 2008-09, before achieving something that the likes of Zinedine
Zidane and Thierry Henry never managed by winning it again in 2009-10.
Career low: Suffering penalty heartache at the hands of Spain in the 2007 UEFA
European Under-17 Football Championship . Hazard's Belgium were hosting the
tournament but went crashing out in the semi-finals after losing a shootout to a Bojan
Krkic-inspired Spain side.
Style: A fearless, explosive attacking midfielder who can change the game with a turn
of pace or a dribble.
Quotes: "Eden is technically gifted and very fast. I would take him to Real Madrid
with my eyes closed. He can become a great footballer, he is a star of the future."
France legend Zinedine Zidane gives Hazard a ringing endorsement.
Trivia: Both of Hazard's parents, Thierry and Carine were both footballers in Belgium
and his younger brother Thorgan is on the books of Lille's arch-rivals Lens


  1. Thorgan is now a chelsea FC prospect. He's no more in lens

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