One of Europe’s Outstanding Talent

Full Name: Eden Michael Hazard

Birthdate: January 7, 1991

Place of Birth: Belgium

Football Club (Currently): Chelsea

Position(s): Forward/Midfielder

Playing Years: 2007 to present

Formative Years and Football Career:

Born to football players as parents, Eden Hazard was definitely meant for football success. At the early age of four, he started his career by playing for hometown club Royal Stade Brainois. He spent eight years at his hometown club before transferring to Belgian club Tubize, and was regarded as a ‘gifted’ player by his youth coaches. He caught the eye of a Lille scout while playing in a local tournament during his time at Tubize.

Hazard also represented Belgium and made his international debut in a match against Luxembourg. He made his full debut against Czech Republic, while also establishing himself as a regular for the national team. He was also among the players featured in nine of Belgium’s 10 World Cup qualification fixtures as they secured a place at a major competition for the first time since 2002.

Lille

In 2007, Hazard moved to Lille, spending two years progressing in the club’s local sports school since its youth academy was not yet operating at that time. In May 2008, he signed his first professional contract assenting to a three-year deal with the club. At the age of 16, he advanced to the club’s reserve team in the Championnat de France amateur for the 2007-08 season. Hazard made his amateur debut in September of the same year, playing as a substitute during the second-half of a 3-1 loss against Racing Club de France. He spent the majority of October and November playing with the club’s unter-18 team since a number of players is on their international duty. He ended his first season with the club with 11 appearances and one goal, assisting the reserve team in finishing in the fifth place.

Hazard progressed to the senior team during the 2008-09 season, appearing as a regular substitute. One of his substitute appearances was certainly favorable for the club after he secured the 3-2 victory against Auxerre. It was his first career goal and it made him the youngest goal scorer in Lille’s history. After regularly appearing as a substitute in the club’s next five league fixtures, he made his first professional league start in a match with Saint-Etienne, capping his appearance by scoring the opening goal in Lille’s 3-0 win. He ended the season by helping the team finished in the fifth place which led Lille qualify for the UEFA Europa League, also becoming the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Young Player of the Year, the first international player to accomplish the title.  

His impressive performance caught the eye of numerous clubs; among these are Arsenal, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Barcelona, and Real Madrid. However, he chose to stay at Lille, starting the next season by scoring a goal that secured the team’s 2-0 victory against Serbian club FK Sevojno during the first leg of the team’s third qualifying round in the UEFA Europa League. Due to his remarkable performance, he was awarded the UNFP Player of the Month for March.

He started the 2010-11 season as part of the starting players in Lille’s first six league fixtures. However, a series of setbacks prevented him from being consistent with his impressive form. He made his breakthrough after the international break, scoring the match-winning goal in a match against Caen in the Coupe de la Ligue. Eden Hazard reached his 100th league appearance with Lille during the 3-1 victory against Caen. Due to his performances, he was named the UNFP Player of the Month for the second time. He played 89 minutes as Lille overpowered Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de France Final. The following week, he secured the Ligue 1 title by drawing 2-2 away against PSG, achieving the club’s first league championship, and the club’s first double since season 1953-54 and 1945-46, respectively. By the end of the season, he was awarded the UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Year, the youngest player to earn the award.

The Belgian forward spent his last season with the club in a series of victories.  He was one of the players nominated for the 2011 UEFA Team of the Year. He marked his 100th consecutive Ligue 1 appearance, which to date, is the lengthiest existing run in the French top flight, by netting a goal in a 4-1 victory against Ajaccio. By the end of the season, he was awarded the UNFP Player of the Year award.

Chelsea

In 2012, he signed with Premier League top-ranked club Chelsea FC. On his Premier League debut, he immediately scored two goals during the first six minutes of a dazzling performance against Wigan Athletic. He repeated his form the following game, bagging a 4-2 victory against Reading. A series of spectacular performances followed, namely in an 8-0 thrashing of Aston Villa before Christmas. He suffered an injury during a match with Sparta Prague, however, he returned with a stunning comeback in an FA Cup tie against Manchester United. He netted another goal for the season against West Ham United. Hazard displayed a series of remarkable display throughout the season, yet, after laying on a history-making goal in a match against Aston Villa, he suffered a hamstring injury which kept him sidelined in time for the Europa League final.

Eden Hazard started his second season with Chelsea by netting a goal during a match against Bayern Munich in the 2013 UEFA Super Cup. Furthermore, he managed five goals in six appearances—his performance was lauded as one of the best of the year. He finished his second season with club by securing the Player of the Year award title for the first time. In the 2014-15 season, Eden Hazard created history by receiving numerous awards for his performances. No Chelsea player has ever received as many single awards in one season as Hazard did. He started in 49 games, continuing his outstanding form throughout the season.

Eden Hazard continued his incredible form throughout the next few seasons, becoming one of the key players at Stamford Bridge, consistently netting goals and securing victories for the team. He made his 150th Premier League appearance during a match against Middlesbrough and Bournemouth, also notching his 50th Chelsea goal. As of now, Eden Hazard is among the players included in the list of and Champions League and Premier League top scorers for the 2018-19 campaign.

By @EliaasMJ

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