Chelsea’s Saul Niguez has explained why he thinks Eden Hazard has struggled so much since a move from Stamford Bridge to Real Madrid.
Hazard, who enjoyed seven amazing years as a Chelsea player, was sold by them to La Liga giants Real Madrid in 2019.
Unfortunately, the Belgian has had a tough time at the Santiago Bernabeu. For example, he’s scored only six goals in 61 appearances in a Madrid shirt.
The 31-year-old winger looks unrecognisable from his time in English football, so it’s been tough to watch a player decline such a long way in just a couple of years. In fairness, injuries have definitely not helped his cause in the Spanish capital.
Blues midfielder Saul, who’s currently on a season-long loan at the Bridge from parent club Atletico Madrid, has been discussing the differences he’s found between La Liga and the Premier League. The 27-year-old thinks Hazard’s struggling with the tactical difference in divisions because Spanish sides don’t allow as many individual scenarios. He added the transition from Premier League to La Liga is tougher than the other way around.
“For example, I was talking to my friends the other day about Eden Hazard. When he was here, he was easily one of the best players in the world and then he goes to La Liga and has his own difficulties because it’s a totally different game,” Saul said, as quoted by the club’s official website.
“Here he had more one-vs-ones and two-vs-ones but in La Liga, because everyone knows how good his team is and how good he is, other teams make it much more difficult for him. Here it’s happening a bit in reverse, although I think it’s a bit easier to adapt from La Liga to the Premier League than from the Premier League to La Liga.”
Chelsea missing Hazard’s attacking magic
Of course, Chelsea winning the Champions League last season shows the club have had success since Hazard’s sale. However, they’re yet to find a cult hero in attack quite like him.
The likes of Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi dazzle in patches, but are a millions miles off a prime Hazard.
Ian Wright suggested in the summer that Blues attacker Timo Werner could support teammate Romelu Lukaku in a similar way to Hazard does in the Belgian national side. It’s something that is yet to happen on the pitch, though.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is still trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube that is his team’s attack.