Florentino Perez broke the bank to sign Eden Hazard as his marquee Galactico, only to witness expectations crumble into disappointment.
In the summer of 2019, Real Madrid went wild in the transfer window as they looked for their new ‘Galactico’. The Spanish giants were long-time admirers of Belgian superstar Eden Hazard, and they decided to splash the cash on the Chelsea forward.
Real Madrid were yet to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, who had left them in 2018 for Juventus. And, they believe bringing in the former Belgian international could fill the void left by the greatest goalscorer in their history. Little did they know that destiny had other plans for Hazard.
Madrid paid an initial amount of £120 million to Chelsea for the left-winger. They agreed on a weekly wage of £400,000 and made him one of their highest-paid players. Even Hazard was keen on joining Real Madrid, he was eager to play in front of the fans at the Santiago Bernabéu and be their next big superstar with the number ‘7’ on the back.
However, things didn’t go according to plan for the 32-year-old. And, after four disappointing seasons at Los Blancos, the former Belgian international is all set to say his goodbye to his dream club without ever showcasing his true potential to the Bernabeu faithful.
Despite having a year left on his contract at the club, Hazard and Real Madrid have mutually decided to part ways after the end of the season. The Belgian forward has agreed to terminate his contract with the Los Blancos.
Eden Hazard wasn't subbed on for his final game for Real Madrid, but the players made sure he got a proper send off ❤️ pic.twitter.com/kdwBzBTd3c
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) June 4, 2023
A Wrong Foot Forward at Real Madrid
Real Madrid fans, who went through tough times in the 2018/19 season post the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo hoped that the arrival of arguably the third-best player in world football (during those days) after Ronaldo and Messi would bring back the good times.
However, despite being a force in the Premier League, Hazard failed to fire in the initial few fixtures. The fans started questioning the signings, even his fitness and to be precise his weight became the talk of the town.
The then 28-year-old landed in Madrid overweight after his holidays. And, a year, later he accepted that he was five kilos overweight when he arrived after his million-dollar move. This is where the troubles began and it never really stopped.
It went from bad to worst in the first season itself as he injured his ankle. Hazard suffered a fracture in his ankle that required surgery and the insertion of a metal plate which was removed two years later.
— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) June 3, 2023
Post that, things never really got going and one after the after injuries kept troubling the Belgian superstar and he never really found his mojo back. Despite his attempts, the former Chelsea star failed to get back to his best.
And, during the same time, Madrid fans saw the rise of Vinicius Junior who went from strength to strength with each passing season and became the star that he is today. What if Hazard had arrived in Madrid fit and ready to go from the start? Would things have been different? Yes, possibly they could have been different but some things are just not meant to be.
Hazard’s Four year-long Nightmare
Hazard did win numerous titles during his time at Real Madrid but he hardly had any contribution to those successes. In total, he won eight titles: a Champions League, a Club World Cup, a European Super Cup, two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey and two Spanish Super Cups.
He missed over 70 matches in his four years at Madrid. Despite having those medals around his neck even Hazard will be disappointed with his stint at Real Madrid. Injuries, one after the other reduced the Belgian superstar into just another regular player in the squad.
The 32-year-old could only feature in just 76 matches in his four seasons and was involved in only 19 goals. He found the back of the net just seven times through his time at Los Blancos.
As far as his last season in Madrid is concerned, the former Chelsea forward made a total of 10 appearances and was on the pitch for under 400 minutes. He was involved in just three goals throughout the campaign.
Eden Hazard: What could have been?
Real Madrid acquired the Belgian superstar on the back of his heroics for Chelsea. The 32-year-old had over 200 goal contributions in his 352 matches for the Blues.
Hazard had scored a total of 110 goals and created 92 while playing for the Premier League club. And, when he made his highly-anticipated move to Real Madrid, there was an air of excitement and expectation surrounding the Belgian superstar.
However, injuries and a series of setbacks prevented Hazard from truly showcasing his immense talent at the Bernabeu. What could have been a transformative era for both Eden Hazard and Real Madrid turned into a frustrating period of unfulfilled promises.
📲 Eduardo Camavinga to Eden Hazard: “The real ones know.” pic.twitter.com/B4OB4puw3I
— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) June 4, 2023
Fans were left to wonder what might have transpired if Hazard had arrived fully fit. Had Hazard been able to maintain his physical condition and avoid the recurring injuries that plagued his time in Madrid, he could have become the true superstar that everyone had anticipated.
With his electrifying dribbling and ability to change games single-handedly, Hazard had the potential to light up the Santiago Bernabeu and etch his name among the club’s legends.
He could have formed a great partnership with the likes of Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Marco Asensio. The former Chelsea winger could have pushed for the Ballon d’Or had he been at his best. Madrid could have dominated Europe despite losing some of their greatest players over the past few seasons.
Unfortunately, fate had other plans, and injuries restricted his impact, leaving supporters to ponder the missed opportunities and what might have been if Hazard’s time in Madrid had aligned with his immense potential.