Chelsea legend Eden Hazard was pictured post-match after Real Madrid’s 5-4 aggregate Champions League quarter-final win having some fun on the Santiago Bernabeu with the next generation.
Hazard, 31, missed out on his second opportunity to play the Blues over the two legs in Europe after he had to go under the knife recently to sort out an issue that has sidelined him for the rest of the 2021/22 season ahead of the summer transfer window. A club statement read: “Our player Eden Hazard will undergo surgery in the next few days to remove the osteosynthesis plate on his right fibula.”
He would have watched on from the sidelines in what was a hostile Santiago Bernabeu for a while to see all of Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner put his potential Champions League winning medal moment in some jeopardy.
However, he and Carlo Ancelotti would have been proud to see the role all of Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Rodrygo played in turning the tide once more as Los Blancos now await to see if they will either be facing their city rivals Atletico or Pep Guardiola’s Man City side in the Champions League semi-finals.
They did not create a lot at Stamford Bridge, but they took every half chance and converted it. This answers your question. This was enough. You have to reduce your amount of mistakes, and we could not reduce it to an absolute minimum over the two legs. That is why the deficit was so high,” Tuchel reflected when asked about the individual moments of brilliance from Benzema and Modric
Then you come here and play a match like this and, as I said, we have two crucial ball losses that only against very few teams end in a goal. Against Real Madrid, it is possible. Still, even over both legs and today, I think we deserved to go through. We were unlucky, but there are no regrets. These are the kind of defeats you can take with pride and accept as a sportsman.”
When proceedings finally came to an end after extra-time following high-quality football across the two legs, players were spotted celebrating and agonising in different ways. Matchwinner Benzema decided to swap shirts with standout performer Reece James whilst Tuchel had an altercation with the referee due to what happened in the aftermath. He said on the refereeing incident: “I was disappointed that the referee had a good time with my colleague, Carlo Ancelotti. I know Carlo is a gentleman and a nice guy, but when I wanted to go and say thank you for the match, I saw him smiling and laughing loudly with the opponents’ coach.
“I think this is the very, very wrong time to do this after a final whistle and 126 minutes where one team gave all their hearts and fought until the last drop. You go and see the referee smiling and laughing with the other coach. I think it is very, very bad timing. I told him this, and that’s it.”
What happened to Hazard though? Despite not being in the squad, Belgian Journalist Kristoff Terreur caught the winger on the sidelines after all the players had left the pitch and after all the fans were gone.
His tweet read: “The Hazard kids enjoying a few minutes on the pitch at the Bernabeu. The man himself in his usual role: watching from the sidelines.”
Reflecting from the sidelines on perhaps what’s next in his career, perhaps. A return to the Premier League amid Chelsea, Arsenal and Newcastle interest? Or even maybe a last swansong at Lille- where it all began for the 31-year-old.