Real Madrid left winger Eden Hazard is currently out with a minor ankle injury, but he’ll own the month of December when he returns.
It took Eden Hazard about a month of regular playing time to settle into Real Madrid, but now that he’s become an entrenched part of the Starting XI when healthy, there is nothing stopping the Belgian forward from tearing defenses to shreds.
Hazard suffered a minor ankle injury against PSG after taking a reckless challenge from fellow Belgium star Thomas Meunier, but he should be back for the Dec. 11 Champions League game against Club Brugge, which is another “revenge” game for Los Blancos after their 2-2 draw to start October.
Once Hazard returns from his injury, he will pick up where he left off after a sensational month of November. According to WhoScored.com, Hazard completed 38 dribbles in his last six appearances since his breakout performance against Leganes on Oct. 31. That’s an average of more than six dribbles completed per game, which is elite.
Against PSG, Hazard’s slick skills led to the team’s first goal. He dusted Marquinhos and Idrissa Gueye with a spin move in midfield that began a dangerous counter for Real, as Hazard turned defense into attack.
Critics of Hazard who clearly don’t watch Real Madrid’s games will point to the player’s lack of goals and assists, since his lone instance of either in La Liga came against Granada in October. But what they don’t understand is that Hazard’s consistent ability to threaten defenses down the left opens up an abundance of space for Toni Kroos’ longshots and Karim Benzema’s deadly finishing inside the box.
Most importantly, Real needed someone who could effectively drop deep, pick up the ball from a defender winning the challenge, and seamlessly turn defense into attack with a burst of speed. Hazard has worked his tail off down the left side of Real’s defense, linking up with Ferland Mendy or Marcelo and then Benzema to bridge defense and attack. He rarely looses possession, and he almost always embarrasses a defender in the process of setting something up for his team.
Hazard has played an unselfish attacking role for Real Madrid over the past month, but Madridistas will soon see an even more dangerous side of the Belgian star once he returns from this footnote of an ankle injury.
December is a big month for Real, who have a chance to command the No. 1 spot in La Liga. They’ve looked better than FC Barcelona in November and are the favorites to win the title. Hazard’s dribbling and work rate have provided that something extra for Real Madrid, but, in December, he’ll start making a difference in the goals and assists department.
Real’s Dec. 18 fixture at Camp Nou is by far the biggest game of the first half of the season either domestically or in European competition. That will be Hazard’s chance to show a worldwide audience that he’s a top-five player on this planet. Hazard rises to the occasion in the biggest games, and he knows that because of El Clasico, December will be a defining month for the nine-figure transfer.
It would be foolish to bet against Eden Hazard putting on a show over the next several weeks and establishing himself as arguably La Liga’s top player this season.