Who is Eden Hazard?
Eden Hazard is a Belgian professional footballer, known for representing the Belgian national team and popular football clubs, such as ‘Chelsea FC’ and ‘Real Madrid.’ He is a midfielder and is known for his offensive play. He has earned the respect of his opponents who often describe him as ‘a superb passer’ and ‘defender’s nightmare.’ Born to footballer parents, he started playing football at a very young age. It all began when he sneaked into the playground used by ‘Royal Stade Brainois’ from his backyard without telling anyone at home. His parents realized that he had sneaked into the football team's playground when the coach of the team showed up at their home to praise the young boy's talent. He soon started practicing regularly to become a professional player. Even though his first competitive game, which he played at the age of ten against a girls' team, ended up in a disastrous 5-0 loss, he made his way into the first team of ‘LOSC Lille’ at the age of 16. He eventually earned an opportunity to play for ‘Chelsea FC’ and came up with performances similar to the performances of Ballon d'Or winners, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Hazard is revered for his exceptional dribbling, speed, and creativity.
Childhood & Early Life
Eden Hazard was born on January 7, 1991, in La Louvière and raised in Braine-le-Comte. His father Thierry was a defensive midfielder who played for ‘La Louvière’ in the ‘Belgian Second Division,’ while his mother Carine was a striker in the ‘Belgian Women's First Division.’
Carine quit playing when she was three months pregnant with Eden. Subsequently, she gave birth to three more boys, Thorgan, Kylian and Ethan, all of whom later became footballers.
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Eden Hazard joined his hometown club ‘Royal Stade Brainois’ as a football player when he was only four years old. Immediately recognized by the coaches as a "gifted" player, Hazard played for the club for eight years.
After he moved to Tubize at the age of 13, he was spotted by a scout from ‘Lille OSC,’ a first division club in France. After the club officials met his parents, they readily accepted the offer to send a 16-year-old Eden to Lille, hoping that the training facilities would be better there.
Career At Lille
Eden joined ‘Lille’ in 2005 and trained at the club’s local sports school for the next two years. He signed his first professional contract, a three-year deal with ‘Lille,’ on May 28, 2007.
He made his amateur debut as a substitute player in a league match against ‘Racing Club de France’ on September 1, 2007. His professional debut was in a league match against ‘AS Nancy’ on November 24, 2007, in which he entered the field as a substitute in the 78th minute.
He was promoted to the senior team by manager Rudi Garcia during the 2008–09 season. Subsequently, he earned a three-year contract extension at ‘Lille.’ He helped his team qualify for the newly created ‘UEFA Europa League,’ and became the first international player to be named ‘UNFP Young Player of the Year.’
During the 2009–10 season, many popular clubs showed interest in him, with football legend and his idol, Zinedine Zidane, personally recommending him for ‘Real Madrid.’ However, he stayed with ‘Lille,’ signing a contract agreement to remain with ‘Lille’ till 2014. He went on to win ‘UNFP Young Player of the Year’ award for the second time, becoming the first player to achieve this feat.
He continued to display his exceptional skills on the field during the subsequent season, and was nominated for the 'UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Year' award for the second time. He became the youngest player ever to win it.
In the 2011–12 season, he played his 100th consecutive Ligue 1 match, becoming the player with the longest run in the French top flight. He won the 'UNFP Player of the Year' award for the second time, becoming only the second player to win the award in consecutive seasons.
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Career At Chelsea
In June 2012, ‘Chelsea’ officials reached an agreement with ‘Lille’ to draft Hazard into their team. He played his first game for the team in a pre-season friendly match against the ‘Seattle Sounders’ on July 18, 2012.
During the 2012–13 season, he was suspended for three games after he accidentally kicked the ball-boy who was intentionally lying on the ball in order to waste time. In the next season, he was among the 23 players nominated for the prestigious 'FIFA Ballon d'Or' honor. While he lost the 'PFA Player of the Year' award to Luis Suárez that year, he managed to win the 'PFA Young Player of the Year' award.
He signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract with ‘Chelsea’ on February 12, 2015. That season, he earned the honor of being the best player, winning the 'PFA Player of the Year' award. He was also voted Chelsea's 'Player of the Year' for second time, becoming only the fifth player to achieve this feat in consecutive years.
After remaining scoreless for 30 matches at the beginning of the 2015-16 season, he regained form in the latter half of the season. He kept performing throughout the next season, leading his team to 12 consecutive league victories, and was named in the 'PFA Team of the Year' for the fourth time during his five-year stay with ‘Chelsea.’
Career at Real Madrid
‘Real Madrid’ announced on 7 June 2019 on their website that Hazard would be signing with them for the 2019-20 season.
Hazard became the most expensive player for ‘Real Madrid’ when he signed a contract worth €100 million.
Hazard has always been a fan of ‘Real Madrid.’ He later said that he has always dreamt of being a part of ‘Real Madrid.’
Eden Hazard, who previously played for the Belgian U-17 and U-19 teams, debuted for the Belgian senior national football team in a match against Luxembourg on November 18, 2008. He scored his first international goal against Kazakhstan on October 7, 2011.
He scored two goals in nine matches during the 2014 ‘World Cup’ qualification campaign, taking his team to the 2014 ‘FIFA World Cup,’ in which they reached the quarterfinals before being eliminated. He was named the captain of the Belgian team for the ‘UEFA Euro’ 2016 finals.
Awards & Achievements
Eden Hazard was the first non-French player to win the ‘UNFP Young Player of the Year' award in 2008 and the youngest player to win the 'UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Year' award in 2010.
He won the PFA 'Young Player of the Year' award in 2014. In the next season, he was named the PFA 'Player of the Year.’
Eden Hazard has been recognized by coaches as well as the media for his speed, technical expertise, and offensive play. Listed among the best players in the world, he has often been compared to star footballers like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Hazard was the captain of Belgium at the 2018 ‘FIFA World Cup’ in Russia. At the end of the 2018 ‘World Cup,’ Hazard was named the second best player of the tournament, winning the silver ball from the ‘FIFA Technical Study Group’ (TSG).
Personal Life & Legacy
In 2012, Eden Hazard married his longtime girlfriend Natacha Van Honacker in a private ceremony. The two attended the same school and first met when he was 14 years old.
After Natacha completed her education, they started to live together in Lille. Natacha gave birth to their first son, Yannis, on December 19, 2010. The couple welcomed their second son, Leo, in February 2013, and another son, Samy, in September 2015.
Eden Hazard appeared alongside Lionel Messi on the cover of a video game titled 'FIFA 15' in Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, and France. He was one of the four players shortlisted to be the new face for the 'FIFA 17' game.