Eden Hazard arrived at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu last summer as Real Madrid’s Galactico replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, in his first year with Los Blancos, the Belgian has been far from the talisman and leader everyone was expecting.
A large part of this is due to his fitness issues, with his international boss raising further questions over his physical state going into the new season.
Hazard didn’t play in either of Belgium’s Nations League games this month, despite travelling with the squad.
Roberto Martinez believes the forward is 60 training sessions away from being fit enough to start, which begs the question as to why he was called up in the first place.
Heading back to Real Madrid for the start of the new season, Hazard has a reputation to rebuild, as well as his fitness.
Appreciated in the dressing room The Real Madrid squad have no problems with Hazard or any aspects of his behaviour.
He might not have made a good first impression last summer, turning up for pre-season overweight, but he’s had bad luck with injuries since then.
The ankle problem he suffered in November 2019 and the following relapse in February were really bad news for everyone connected with Real Madrid.
When Hazard and Los Blancos returned after lockdown, the former Lille star showed glimpses of his best before picking up a knock against Espanyol.
Now, it’s about finding his feet as a player and regaining his confidence in his injured ankle.
Mixed emotions for the future Real Madrid still believe Hazard can become the player they thought he would be at the Bernabeu, but recent events on international duty have prompted some concerns about his fitness.
The club would’ve preferred him to stay at Valdebebas rather than go with Belgium, but they also understand what representing his country means to the 29-year-old.
Amongst the coaching staff, they’ve put a plan in place to allow Hazard to rediscover the form that saw him become one of the best players in the world at Chelsea.
The Belgian was named player of the year three times at Stamford Bridge, most recently in his last campaign there in 2018/19.
Looking forward, Hazard will be focused on reaching full fitness within the next two or three weeks, just in time for the start of the LaLiga Santander season.
Before he goes on international duty again in October, Real Madrid play Real Sociedad, Real Betis, Real Valladolid and Levante.
Real Madrid’s 2019/20 season finished on August 7, when they lost 2-1 away at Manchester City in the Champions League. While Raphael Varane’s couple of errors stood out in that game, so too did Thibaut Courtois and Kevin de Bruyne. Their Belgian teammate Eden Hazard was much less involved, taken off in the 83rd minute.
Now, this new season has begun with the internationals travelling to represent their national teams before even training one day with their clubs. Courtois, though, was back after three days working with Belgium as he returned to Valdebebas on Friday instead of travelling to Denmark. He had agreed this with his national team coach Roberto Martinez and with Zinedine Zidane. On the other hand, Hazard preferred to stay with Belgium instead of prioritising his club and didn’t even play one minute against Denmark or Iceland.
Hazard’s main problem isn’t his right ankle, which Martinez said will need to be looked after throughout his career. His main problem is that he hasn’t realised how demanding it is to represent Real Madrid, after a first year in which he practically did nothing. He was signed for a huge fee and he was signed to be a star, which is why his lack of commitment is so concerning. He has all the footballing skills he needs, but this mentality could prevent him from succeeding.
The other problem is that while he keeps playing without being in optimal condition, like during last season, he’ll continue to take opportunities away from young players who are showing ambition. Players like Vinicius, but also Rodrygo, Martin Odegaard and Marco Asensio. Zidane could be making a mistake if he prefers to give out minutes by prioritising status over sporting merit and hard work.
Luka Modric has called for Real Madrid team-mate Eden Hazard to show his true form this season following a poor first year at the Bernabeu.
Hazard was one of the high profile moves during the summer transfer window of 2019 when he moved from Chelsea to Madrid for £150million.
But a series of injuries restricted the playmaker to just 22 games in all competitions, netting one goal and providing seven assists.
However he was ruled out of a further 24 games due to a series of injuries, mainly a hairline fracture in the foot throughout the winter.
Modric though sympathises with the 29-year-old, claiming he was trying too hard to play through his injury,
‘Eden is a great guy and a special player, but he was playing with pain and when you’re on the pitch, people always expect the best. They don’t care if you have little problems,’ Modric told AFP.
‘I spoke to him and said, “Eden maybe you need not to play now and recover because next season we need you at your best. This is a season where you’re getting to know everything but next season you need to be 100 per cent because if not, it’s going to be difficult”.
‘Hopefully he comes back without any problems and then I’m sure he’ll show his potential and why the club bought him because we will need him a lot.’
Modric also had advice for another team-mate in Gareth Bale, who also struggled under Zinedine Zidane last term.
The Wales star has fallen out of favour under the Madrid manager and the Croatian star has informed the 31-year-old he now needs to do what is best for his career.
‘Gareth is a great, great player but his situation is not easy. He always has my support but he needs to decide what is best for him and what he wants to do now with his career,’ Modric said.
‘It was not an easy season for him but it is what it is. Maybe now he needs to get back to his best…We’ll see what happens with him.’
Eden Hazard was signed by Real Madrid to be their newest superstar after a lean year following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, yet injuries and a lack of rhythm has hindered the Belgian’s progress, leading him to describe the 2019/20 season as the worst of his career.
With that being said, Hazard will still walk away from his debut campaign as a LaLiga Santander winner, and he will hope there is a realistic chance of Champions League success too, especially given Manchester City’s indifferent form of late.
“This year we have collectively won the title, but I’ve had the worst season of my career on an individual level,” Hazard admitted in an interview with FranceInfo.
“We all know Zidane as a player, he was the best, but as a coach we don’t even need to describe him anymore.
“He has shown, in just a few years, that he is already one of the best coaches, he is a person who simply knows how to say things at the right time, he trusts his players and his players trust him, that’s why it works.”
Manchester City hold a slender 2-1 advantage in their Champions League tie with Los Merengues, albeit with two away goals, however Hazard hasn’t given up hope of being involved in a magical turnaround.
“The season has been very good for the team, but it would be even better if we could progress in the Champions League,” he detailed.
“When you play for Real Madrid, you want to win every single trophy.
“The next one has to be the Champions League, although we know it will be difficult because we have to play Manchester City, who have a very good team.”
Injuries have been the one constant throughout Eden Hazard’s debut season with Real Madrid, yet Los Blancos are beginning to think that the Belgian is being unfairly targeted by opposing defences with statistics showing the former Chelsea forward to be the victim of a foul every 23 minutes.
Real Madrid believe there is a direct link to the sustained physical treatment Hazard has received this term and his high number of absences through injury, especially when you look at the foul on him made by international teammate, Thomas Meunier, in the Champions League.
In the game against Eibar, which was his return to competition for the Spanish club, Hazard was kicked directly on the previously damaged area near his ankle.
Nerves went around the Los Merengues’ directors’ box as the player writhed on the ground, yet he was able to bounce back and carry on.
Hazard’s style of play, with the ball virtually stuck to his foot, brings about trouble, especially when he cuts inside the pitch from the left and starts dribbling.
This encourages defenders to foul him as they often can’t adjust their body shape in time, despite knowing beforehand exactly what Hazard was going to do, just recall how difficult defenders found stopping Arjen Robben’s infamous cut-in on his left foot from the right.
So far in 14 matches, accumulating 1,008 minutes, Hazard has been on the receiving end of 44 fouls, all varying in degrees of severity.
This data is a serious concern to the Madrid club, who feel that their star signing is being unfairly targeted and not protected adequately enough.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez spoke about Eden Hazard and his tough start to life at Real Madrid, but how his future could sparkle.
Eden Hazard can win the Ballon d’Or at Real Madrid, according to Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez.
Ballon d’Or chance for Hazard Hazard swapped Chelsea for Madrid in a blockbuster €100million transfer at the start of the 2019-20 season but the Belgium star has struggled at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Injury and fitness problems have limited Hazard to just 15 appearances in the Spanish capital, where the attacker had not played since February 22 due to a broken ankle prior to the coronavirus pandemic. We looked at how his form may be upon return.
But national team boss Martinez – who extended his Belgium contract on Wednesday – is expecting big things from Hazard.
“He can totally win the Ballon d’Or with Real Madrid, without a doubt,” Martinez told Spanish station Cadena Ser.
“Sometimes it takes a difficult start at your new club to give everything you have inside and understand what it means to play in a great club like Real Madrid.
“Eden does not miss games, he lost 18 games with Chelsea in eight years and this has been circumstantial. The game that was injured against Paris Saint-Germain we already saw Eden with a lot of joy in his football with a great connection with his team-mates. I think Real Madrid fans are confident that he will bring many successes.”
Madrid last week returned to their Valdebebas base for the first time in two months, with most major sport across the globe suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The players undertook individual sessions before working in groups on Monday, as LaLiga clubs took a step towards resuming their normal activities – the league hoping to restart in June.
Martinez added: “He is very happy. The footballer Eden is in a moment of great joy, he is very comfortable.
“All the steps have been taken in great detail and I would have had no problem to end the season with Real Madrid and reach the European Championship. I see him very happy and looking forward to some joy this season.”
Eden Hazard has been a “little self-conscious” at Real Madrid but still has a “great future” ahead of him in the Spanish capital, according to Cesc Fabregas.
Hazard completed a €100 million (£87m/$108m) move to Santiago Bernabeu from Chelsea last summer, bringing to an end one of the year’s longest-running transfer sagas.
The Belgium international carved out a reputation as one of the world’s finest players during his seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge, but hasn’t been able to reach the same high standards during his debut season with Madrid.
Injuries have significantly limited Hazard’s contribution to the Blancos’ cause over the last 10 months, and he has not played for the club since suffering an ankle fracture during a 1-0 defeat against Levante on February 22.
Fabregas is not surprised that his ex-Chelsea colleague has struggled in his first year at the Bernabeu, with it his belief that the winger has been inhibited by expectations to perform at the Bernabeu.
The former Blues midfielder does, however, think Hazard will overcome a difficult period to turn around his career in Madrid, as he told RTVE : “He has played several good games with Madrid, but it is true that sometimes I have seen him a little self-conscious.
“He has always been a player who has had a hard time starting seasons.
“Even so, I predict a great future.”
Hazard has only featured in 15 matches across all competitions for Zinedine Zidane’s side since joining the club, and only has one goal to his name.
The 29-year-old underwent surgery on his ankle injury in March, just before the 2019-20 campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez delivered a positive update on his recovery last month.
“I know he is recovering well. He is not far from running again and there are no complications,” said Martinez.
“We know he will return stronger. We were also fortunate, of course, to have his surgery take place just before the coronavirus outbreak.”
La Liga officials are aiming to restart the season in June, with all matches likely to be played behind closed doors as social distancing measures remain in place to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? It’s the question that has defined a decade of football; the cause of innumerable arguments across the globe.
In the age of social media, you are not allowed to appreciate both. You have to pick one or the other. And whom you chose apparently tells you a lot about how you view the game. As Luis Figo famously argued, it really is a question of taste: “It’s like choosing between white truffle or caviar.”
Indeed, the one thing that everyone agrees on is that both are incredible; both belong in the conversation on the best player of all time. They are, after all, responsible for an unprecedented rivalry in the history of the game: two all-time greats on opposite sides of the Clasico divide for nine years, pushing one another to scale even greater heights.
As Messi himself told DAZN: “It was a duel that will last forever because it went on for many years, and it isn’t easy to keep at your highest level for so long – especially at those two clubs we were at, which were so demanding, in Real Madrid and Barcelona, the best clubs in the world.
“Competing head to head for so many years will be remembered forever. The sporting rivalry between us was very nice on a personal level. I think that the fans also enjoyed it, be they Madrid or Barca supporters, or just those who like football.”
It is not over yet, of course. Ronaldo and Messi may be 35 and 32, respectively, but they have yet to show any real signs of letting up. The Portuguese may have changed teams, leaving Real for Juventus in 2018, but the rivalry with Messi endures; the debate rages on – at least among their most ardent supporters.
When Ronaldo transferred to Turin, his fans followed. Juventus’ social media numbers skyrocketed, highlighting this new phenomenon of some supporters prioritising players over clubs. These very modern consumers of football have a favourite player – not a favourite team, which begs a far more pressing question than Messi or Ronaldo: What happens after the pair retire?
Will football lose followers? The two greatest protagonists in the most absorbing drama of the past decade will have left the stage – will some of the audience leave before the next act? After all, how could anything top what has gone before?
Ronaldo and Messi have distorted our perceptions of what is possible on a football field, making the extraordinary, ordinary. They have altered our idea of what constitutes an excellent goal-scoring season. Anything less than 50 goals a season could, in future, be construed as underwhelming.
And that is the key here: consistency.
“They’ve done it for so long,” Spanish football writer Andy West told Goal. “They’ve barely taken a week off. They’ve both had the physical fitness to play 40 or 50 games a year. Neither of them have really had serious injuries problems, which is amazing in itself. If you go back over the history of the game, there are very, very few players who are able to sustain that excellence for so long.
“Even if you look at players just from my lifetime, such as the Brazilian Ronaldo, he was the best player in the world at his peak, but he had so many injury problems that meant he was only at his greatest for a short period of time.
“They’ve not given anybody else has had a look in. There have been lots and lots of great players over the past decade who would have previously had a claim on being the best player in the world but they’ve not even been close. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. Nobody has been close to the level of Messi and Ronaldo.”
Hazard and Neymar? Not even someone like Eden Hazard. The Belgium international was one of the best players in the world for years, lighting up the Premier League with his wing wizardry at Chelsea. However, even Hazard has admitted that he is simply incapable of matching Ronaldo and Messi’s numbers, as so painfully underlined by the 29-year-old’s form and fitness issues in his first year at Real Madrid.
“I often ask myself what I can do to become like Messi and Ronaldo and get 50 or 60 goals in a season,” he confessed to Sport/Foot. I try, of course, but I realise that I will never be a true goalscorer like them. It’s not in me. It is mainly mental: at 2-0, not thinking that is enough for example. Sometimes I still think after a goal, ‘That’s enough.’
“I’m not in search of records like some other players – if I can score between 15 and 20 goals each season, I will be very happy.”
One could never imagine Messi or Ronaldo being content with such a tally.
Of course, for the sake of narrative, they are portrayed as polar opposites: Messi is the quiet, unassuming genius who puts the team first; Ronaldo the self-made goal-scoring machine who takes as much pride in his appearance as his records. Both are crude caricatures, which do both a disservice. Messi can be as ruthless as Ronaldo; Ronaldo can be as magnanimous as Messi.
In addition, they are bound not only by brilliance but also determination, an inner drive that has seen both make the absolute most of their considerable skills.
Which is perhaps why Neymar is no longer the favourite to step into the spotlight when Messi and Ronaldo bow out. There have never been any doubts over the Brazilian’s ability but his level of focus has long been a cause for concern.
Neymar’s situation has hardly improved in the interim. If anything, that storm has only worsened. As has his physical condition.
Since moving to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee in 2017, Neymar has been blighted by injuries and ill-discipline. At 28, his career path now looks more likely to follow that of Ronaldinho than Ronaldo, having, thus far, failed to strike the perfect balance between sporting and commercial growth.
Time For Mbappe and Haaland? But what about the next generation? Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are considered the frontrunners to fill the void that Messi and Ronaldo will leave behind. Both are extraordinary young talents.
Mbappe is the only man other than Pele to have scored in a World Cup final as a teenager; Haaland is the youngest player in history to score 10 Champions League goals, having reached that mark in just seven matches.
Their potential is as obvious as it is enormous. Questions remain, of course. Can they sustain their fine form? Will they avoid serious injuries? Will they be as dedicated to their profession as Messi and Ronaldo?
Both are considered colourful characters. Haaland’s former Red Bull Salzburg team-mate Maximilian Wober described the Norwegian to Goal as “crazy insane” yet recalled how the striker would spend his time on away trips “reading scientific articles on who he could improve his sleep pattern or diet” while the rest of the team were playing cards.
In a similar vein, Mbappe once skipped a party in honour of Monaco’s shock 2016-17 Ligue 1 title triumph so that he could get enough rest to be in peak physical condition for the following day’s training session. The Frenchman was only a teenager back then, though, and there having been growing concerns about his allegedly egotistical behaviour since being taken under Neymar’s wing in Paris, as underlined by his recent spats with PSG coach Thomas Tuchel.
Mbappe has admitted himself that he is “not a hard worker” but is still regarded by journalists who follow the French league and national team closely as someone who simply loves playing football. As long as he retains that passion for the game, he should – like Haaland – continue to rack up record after record.
Of course, it would be unfair to expect anyone to equal Messi or Ronaldo’s remarkable strike-rates. Or carry the game into a new era, for that matter. Besides, it’s not as if the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry has been the only show in town over the past 10 to 15 years.
Messi has never played in the Premier League, while Ronaldo left in 2009 – yet the English top-flight is by some distance the most watched and, consequently, the richest championship in club football. There are, of course, many reasons for its global popularity: the sheer pace of the game separates it from its European rivals; what it loses in quality, it makes up for in frenzied entertainment.
In addition, the almost total absence of running tracks around its pitches only accentuates the raucous atmosphere generated by the massive and passionate crowds found with its modern stadia. England changed its practices and image following the Heysel and Hillsborough tragedies of the 1980s, and reaped the rewards.
With the advent of the Premier League in 1992, English football became a perfectly packaged product expertly sold to audiences across the globe by BSkyB and, in turn, the further riches bestowed upon clubs by the sale of overseas TV rights enabled the acquisition of some of the most talented and charismatic characters in football. All of this, coupled with the sport’s innate capacity for unscripted drama, made the Premier League compelling viewing.
Essentially, football faces a far more pressing concern than the imminent retirement of two living legends, with the Covid-19 pandemic having plunged the game into financial crisis that represents a very real existential threat for clubs and leagues across the world.
By its very nature, though, football is a simple game. Its popularity will not be dimmed by the pandemic; if anything, it may be enhanced by it, as people become even more appreciative of a sport that can be played by anyone with a ball.
So, if football can survive Covid-19, it can survive the loss of Messi and Ronaldo. The show will go on. But so too will the debate over who was better: Messi or Ronaldo?
There will never be an agreement, of course, but that is beside the point.
As Messi says, his rivalry with Ronaldo is a duel that will last forever.
Kepa Arrizabalaga and Eden Hazard were teammates at Chelsea in the 2018/19 campaign, so the Spanish goalkeeper got to see the Belgian’s wizardry on a daily basis.
However, injuries have hampered Hazard since he departed Stamford Bridge for Real Madrid last summer, but the 29-year-old remains a superstar in Kepa’s eyes, as he revealed during an interview with MARCA.
Let’s talk about Hazard, an ex-Chelsea man. Would you put him at the same table as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?
I don’t know if he’s up with them, because of the numbers both have put up for so many years, but it’s close. He’s a great player. The best Hazard has yet to be seen in LaLiga.
A lot of injuries…
Injuries come when they come. They can’t be controlled. Last year, with us, he barely had an injury. Hopefully, with health, we can enjoy him next season.
In Spain, you are always remembered for your possible move to Real Madrid in January 2018. How do you remember that?
It’s been a couple of years now. I was coming towards the end of my contract with Athletic [Club] and several big clubs became interested. It was a compliment that teams aiming to win the world’s top trophies were interested in me. But things happen when they have to happen. At that time, it didn’t happen and I’m comfortable with the decision I made to finally renew with Athletic.
For the first time in your career, you made the front pages. What did you learn?
It was a great way for me to grow up. It’s true that I was quite introverted; I didn’t want to listen or talk too much. Even my grandmother told me that she saw me more on the front pages than in person.
Do you think you should have come out and said something at that time?
There was so much talk… I decided not to talk until I had made up my mind. Once I had renewed, I went on record.
Do you believe the theory that Zinedine Zidane rejected you because of a report that said you were weak in the air?
I don’t know. I never heard that theory. I’m not aware of it, evidently.
Do you rule out ever going back to a big LaLiga Santnader team?
Now I’m very happy at a great club, Chelsea, which allows me to enjoy the Premier League.
Football’s return from the coronavirus-enforced break is still up in the air, but there is focus at Real Madrid on getting Eden Hazard back into prime shape in case action does resume.
The Belgian is still recovering from the ankle operation that he underwent on March 5 after suffering an injury at Levante.
It was initially thought that two to three months would be needed for him to make his way back onto the pitch, which looked to have prematurely ended his first season at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
But the coronavirus’ spread changed everything and now there is some hope that he could play again this season should 2019/20 ever resume.
The next step is for the players to return to training at Valdebebas, where the No.7 hopes he can continue his recovery and eventually get back into Zinedine Zidane’s XI.
His ankle is already at about 70 percent as he’s working at home with the support of a club physiotherapist.
He does, of course, need to catch up with other types of exercises, notably on-field work, but the same could be said of his teammates as well.
Injuries have plagued Hazard’s maiden campaign in white, but he’ll be hopeful that the glimpses of brilliance he’s shown at times this term can become a more regular feature in the not too distant future.
If the Spanish government give the green light to resume the LaLiga Santander season, Eden Hazard could be one of Real Madrid’s great signings.
The Belgian’s campaign looked to be over when he had a relapse of his ankle problem on February 22 against Levante at the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia. His aim was to get fit for Euro 2020, but things have taken a radical turn.
Should Real Madrid make it back to fight for the LaLiga Santander title, it is a certainty that Hazard will be able to pull the famous white shirt on again.
LaLiga are looking at a return in the first couple of weeks in June, with 11 matchdays to play.
Hazard’s estimated recovery time was three months, which was almost the same length of time he needed to get back into action after being injured against Paris Saint-Germain in November.
If football is back on the expected date, Hazard would have been out for three-and-a-half months, though he may need a little longer given the fact he has been unable to work at Valdebebas.
So far, the player has just been doing floor and ankle strengthening exercises at home as ordered by the club’s doctors and fitness specialists.
Hazard though will have some time before matches begin to work at Valdebebas, and every delay works in the Belgian’s favour.
What seems clear is that if he is to play, then time is the key to his comeback.
Eden Hazard will go down as one of Chelsea’s greatest ever players, yet it has now emerged that the Blues owe a huge debt of gratitude to a club legend for making his stint at Stamford Bridge happen.
Hazard, then renowned as one of the most exciting young talents in world football, put pen to paper on a Chelsea contract in summer 2012 and turned down a host of elite European clubs in doing so.
Many simply put the transfer down to the shrewd business acumen of wealthy owner Roman Abramovich, but new information has come to light showing how Chelsea finally got a deal over the line.
There was one key architect in the move who until now had gone uncredited; that man was Didier Drogba… with a little help from ex-Arsenal forward Gervinho.
Speaking recently to Belgian media, amid football’s coronavirus lockdown, Hazard has outlined how the wheels were set in motion for his switch from Ligue 1 side Lille to Premier League titans Chelsea.
In conversation with Het Laatste Nieuws, Hazard revealed how Chelsea legend Drogba pulled together his contacts in order to act as a persuader.
Knowing that Hazard played alongside Gervinho at Lille, Drogba was able to speak with the youngster via his Ivory Coast international team-mate.
Just one month prior, Drogba had been the talk of world football after having heroically led Chelsea to a first ever Champions League victory in Munich, scoring a both a late equaliser and converting the decisive penalty in the shootout.
Using his influence, Drogba spoke to Hazard over the phone while he was preparing to play a match.
‘Suddenly Gervinho’s phone rang in the dressing room near Lille. It was Drogba on the line. He insisted that he tell me, “I need to talk to him”‘ Hazard revealed.
‘Drogba said to me, “You have to come to Chelsea.”
‘At that moment I was still in doubt. Chelsea was not doing well in the Premier League. They wouldn’t play Champions League the following year. [But] After that final, the choice was made quickly.’
Hazard added: ‘I knew I would easily adapt. London, close to home, not too far from Lille. [Kevin] De Bruyne had played there, Romelu [Lukaku] was around. There were enough French speakers. I knew I would play enough. I was only sad that he, Drogba, decided to leave.’
After making his decision, Hazard delighted Chelsea fans around the globe with one short tweet on social media.
With part reference to Drogba’s heroics in Munich, Hazard revealed on Twitter: ‘I’m signing for the Champions League winner.’
Hazard went on to make 245 Premier League appearances with the Blues, scoring 85 times. In his 38 Champions League appearances for Chelsea, Hazard scored eight goals and contributed 11 assists.
The 29-year-old left for Spanish giants Real Madrid in the summer of 2019.
Simba SC attacking midfielder Clatous Chama has named Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard among his favourite players in Europe.
The Zambian player described Barcelona forward Messi as the greatest, and Real Madrid’s Hazard as a complete player.
“Lionel Messi is the Barcelona all-time player. He is also my best footballer of all time, he is the GOAT,” Chama said in his answer to one of the Simba fans during a question and answer session with supporters on his Instagram page.
“[Eden] Hazard is a complete player he might not have had a good season so far at the new club but he is a whole player.
“Both [Paul Pogba and Kevin De Bruyne] are good players but in my team, I will go with De Bruyne.”
The 28-year-old Chipolopolo midfielder also explained why he supports Barcelona as well as Liverpool in England.
“Proudly yeah, I am a Barcelona fan. I am a Barcelona fan because of how the club plays but I also support Liverpool who are the best team in the Premier League,” Chama continued.
On his future with the Mainland Premier League champions, after being linked with a transfer move to rivals Yanga SC, Chama said: “I will be back in Tanzania and I will not play, next season for Yanga.”
Chama has established himself as a key midfielder for the 20-time league champions in recent seasons, having joined in 2018.
Real Madrid are meeting with numerous medical professionals for advice on how to proceed with winger Eden Hazard’s latest injury,
The Belgian missed 83 days of action after fracturing his right fibula, but he managed just two games before aggravating the injury, and it has now been suggested that his season could be over after suffering the same issue again.
As noted by Marca, Real are eager to ensure that Hazard does not suffer another relapse when he eventually returns, so they are regularly speaking with doctors to determine whether or not to operate on the winger.
One of those who will be asked for advice is Dr James Calder, who operated on Hazard when he suffered a similar injury during his time with Chelsea back in 2017.
At the moment, it is believed that the option to send Hazard for surgery is winning. Specialists have suggested that Hazard’s fibula needs to be examined directly to determine whether there is something wrong with it, given this is his third injury in three years.
Several meetings will be held this week, with Hazard invited to attend and give his opinion, and Real are eager to make a decision which will benefit everyone in the long run.
Understandably, Hazard wants to be fit in time to feature at Euro 2020 with Belgium, and club officials are bearing that in mind. Fortunately, it is thought that he will be ready for this summer regardless of which route his recovery takes.
However, he will not be available for Real for several months, meaning his frustrating debut season in Madrid could have come to an abrupt end.
Hazard has managed just 15 appearances for Real this season, registering just one goal and five assists in all competitions, which is certainly not what Los Blancos expected when they parted with an initial €100m to sign him last summer.
In his place, Zinedine Zidane can still call upon the likes of Vinícius Júnior, Lucas Vázquez and Gareth Bale as they look to topple Barcelona and lift another La Liga title.
Real Madrid’s coaching staff are surprised with Eden Hazard’s physical condition after the injury. Now, the Belgian comes back at a key time in the season both for LaLiga and the Champions League.
Real Madrid is heading towards the most defining part of the season in the next few weeks and, as planned, they will do so with Eden Hazard. Fully recovered from his physical problems, the former Chelsea man is doing exceptionally well physically, to the extent that Zidane’s team is surprised with his progress.
Just after his injury against Paris Saint-Germain, the premise was clear: if all went according to plan, Hazard would be available for Real Madrid’s Champions League round of 16 match, in this case against Manchester City. Unless there’s a last-minute catastrophe, the goal has been achieved.
To achieve this, the club followed the player very closely, keeping an eye on his weight during recovery, as weight gain was a problem for the Belgian during the preseason. His return has taken a lot of patience, but now the team is reaping the benefits.
“Hazard is perfect, he could have continued playing against Celta,” said the club to ‘AS’. He was substituted in the second half because Zidane didn’t want to take any risks, but sources from the club have said he could have finished the match.
The plan of Madrid has been fulfilled and Hazard is in full conditions to face the difficult week ahead of them: the first leg of the round of sixteen against Manchester City on Wednesday and the great ‘Clásico’ against Barcelona.
To this end, although the ‘7’ is well physically, Zidane wants to return to the spark that brings the competitive pace of the games. He will start this Saturday against Levante, a team that’s known for proving difficult to big clubs.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has confirmed Eden Hazard will be available for Sunday’s meeting with Celta Vigo after spending the last two months out injured.
The Belgian hasn’t featured since Los Blancos’ 2-2 draw at home to Paris Saint-Germain on 27 November. He limped off during the clash with the French club, with subsequent scans revealing a hairline fracture in the foot, which has seen him miss 16 matches.
The first year of Hazard’s Real career has proved a testing one for the forward, who arrived carrying a hamstring problem. That delayed his debut until 9 September, while it also appeared to have an impact on his confidence and form.
However, he remains one of Madrid’s most prized possessions, with Zidane saying of his return (via the club’s official website): “I’m really happy that he’s back because he’s a unique player. We didn’t want to rush things with him to ensure that he feels really good.
“We know what he brings to the team and that’s why we signed him. He’s a really great player, and it’s time for him to be back and involved. He’s feeling good physically, but he’s not played in three months.
“It’s now all about the tempo and playing games. Fitness-wise, he’s ready to play. He’ll be with us tomorrow and is ready to play.”
Zidane refused to give a concrete answer after being asked what role Hazard would play on Sunday, explaining: “When you’ve got players who are all really good, it’s tough to name a starting lineup. Every one of them brings something to the team.
“I like to have all of them ready to play, but when it comes to naming the side, you’ve got to take enough time to think about it. I don’t always decide on the same day.
“I’ve got 23 available players, and I have to choose. What they do is focus and are committed, and I’m then the one who has to choose.”
Paris Saint-Germain are ready to make Kylian Mbappé one of the highest paid players in the world by offering him a bumper new contract ahead of Euro 2020.
The 21-year-old is already one of the world’s best players and is likely to get even better, which is why Real Madrid are incredibly eager to bring him to the Santiago Bernabéu as soon as possible.
His current contract will run until 2022, but AS state that PSG are ready to offer him a post-tax wage of €50m-a-year to snub the Spanish side’s advances and remain in Paris.
The report claims that that would see him earn similar money to both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, although a previous investigation noted that the latter is in a league of his own when it comes to wages.
However, you get the point – it’s a lot of money.
Regardless, such a salary would be more than triple what Mbappé currently earns, while it would also be higher than teammate Neymar, which sounds like a problem waiting to happen.
Paris Saint-Germain v Montpellier HSC – Ligue 1
A source close to PSG claimed that the club do not want to lose Mbappé before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which means they will have to convince him to sign a new contract before that point.
Real’s plan is to ensure he does not. He is currently valued at over €300m, but the Spanish club know that his asking price will plummet if he enters the final year of his contract in 2021.
Their plan is to reach out to Mbappé indirectly to convince him to reject any offers from PSG, similar to how they managed to lure Eden Hazard away from Chelsea last summer, before swooping in to save the day with a sizeable offer.
Real do not want to damage their relationship with PSG, and instead want to be seen as heroes who will still pay a huge price for a player in the final year of his contract.
However, if Mbappé renews his contract and accepts an astronomical salary, then Real’s chances of signing him anytime soon will be almost non-existent.
About nine people have been arrested by police and 46 injured as Catalonia independence protesters threw rocks at police on the night of ‘El Clasico’ the much rivaled match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, which had previously been postponed due to security fears.
As Barcelona played Real Madrid on Wednesday night at the Camp Nou stadium, masked protesters carrying Catalan seperatist flags in support of Catalonia independence from Spain, set bins on fire and threw glass bottles and rocks at police, who responded with foam bullets in a street outside the stadium.
The protesters, set up barricades in the middle of the street, which they then set on fire after police arrived in dozens of vans.
This is the first violent protest in Catalonia region since October when Spain’s top court jailed nine Catalan separatist leaders over their role in a failed 2017 bid for independence.
It should be noted that this classico match which ended 0-0 was supposed to be played in December but was postponed due to serious security concerns and on Wednesday night thousands of Catalonia protesters could be seen chanting “Independence” and “Free political prisoners”
The main goal of the protests is to get pain’s government to negotiate on Catalonia’s right to self-determination and independence from Spain and to achieve freedom for the separatists who were jailed.