September 23, 2021

‘Hazard has switched off again at Madrid’ – Ex-Chelsea star failing to live up to ‘great’ potential, says Cascarino

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The former Blues and Republic of Ireland forward doesn’t think the Belgian winger has been at his “best for a long time”

Eden Hazard has “switched off” again at Real Madrid, according to Tony Cascarino, who says the ex-Chelsea star is failing to live up to his “great” potential.

Madrid invested €100 million (£90m/$118m) in Hazard’s talents in the summer of 2019, having seen him become one of Europe’s most effective wingers during his seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge.

The Belgium international scored 110 goals in 352 outings for Chelsea, winning two Premier League titles, two Europa League crowns and the FA Cup in the process, but has so far been unable to reach the same heights at Santiago Bernabeu.

Although Hazard did manage to become a Liga winner in his first season with the Blancos, he only scored once in 16 domestic outings amid persistent struggles for form and fitness.

Those issues have continued at the start of the 2020-21 campaign, with Cascarino of the opinion that the ex-Blues talisman has allowed his standards to slip.

The former Chelsea forward says Hazard was guilty of doing the same throughout his time in west London, with a lack of consistency preventing him from nailing down a place among the greatest players in history.

“Eden Hazard is an incredibly gifted player, but he’s had a really difficult time since he went to Real Madrid for that huge fee,” Cascarino told talkSPORT.

“Injuries and obviously the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t helped him, it’s affected his career, but what a talent he can be for Belgium.

“He went to Real Madrid to become the best player in the world, he even mentioned that, he talked about that when he joined Madrid, but what a difficult time he’s had since he’s joined. It’s been really hard on him. He’s found it tough.

“Obviously injuries have played a huge part in it, he went to Real Madrid and apparently was a tad overweight, he lost his confidence, but he seems to recovered his fitness of late.

“Belgium miss him. I can remember his performance against Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup, it was him and Neymar both out on the right and Hazard outplayed Neymar all night. He was just superb.

“I really miss seeing Hazard being Hazard, because he is a great player when he’s on.

“He has done this a couple of times, he has switched off in his career and Chelsea fans will tell you. There were a couple of times where he just switched off at Chelsea.

“But when he switches on he’s up there with the best players who have ever played the game.

“We just haven’t seen Hazard at a best for a long time.”