Belgium vs Tunisia, World Cup 2018: Eden Hazard shows qualities similar to Cristiano Ronaldo, scouting report

The Chelsea man was sensational against Tunisia and is developing a pleasing ability to stand up and be counted in the biggest matches

Jack Watson
Tuesday 26 June 2018 15:05
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Belgium World Cup profile

Eden Hazard raised eyebrows when he accused Romelu Lukaku at half time of “hiding” and “going missing” against Panama, but there was nothing surprising about his lively dressing down which inspired the striker’s second half brace and Belgium’s 3-0 win.

This display of leadership from the Belgium captain, in Vincent Kompany’s absence, is the final phase of Hazard’s development. He has moved into the elite club to join the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo who have the talent to win games on their own, but also possesses the drive to force the players around them to perform to their very best.

When Real Madrid and especially Portgual are losing, Ronaldo is obsessed with making sure his teammates raise their game and drags them over the line. Often the individual work is done by the man himself but Ronaldo’s personality often inspires those around him.

When Hazard is in an underperforming side in years gone by, he has hidden, entered his shell and gone missing. This was exactly what he accused Lukaku of doing in the first 45 minutes against Panama. A shift from individual talisman to motivational leader takes Hazard up a step and within touching distance of world class status. His ability is now complimented by the freakish drive which has separated Ronaldo from the best players in the world, and Chelsea need to capitalise on this.

Hazard, 27, has always had a ludicrous amount of talent behind him, but his emergence as a win-at-all-costs leader means he has become a much more desirable player.

Chelsea must do everything they can to keep him at Stamford Bridge where he can become a legend and lead a period of success, potentially as captain.

The Belgian winger has always been cagey when discussing his future and has frequently hinted he may prefer a move to Real Madrid. Hazard’s warned Chelsea he is waiting for them to sign “good players” and said “Real Madrid can interest me.”

Against Tunisia he wasted no time stamping his authority on the match and won a penalty in the fifth minute, which he converted with his trademark composure after a short VAR review.

A deserved brace was sealed when he expertly controlled Kevin De Bruyne’s pass on his chest, lifted the ball over the goalkeeper and finished into an empty net. This was the 23rd goal Hazard has been directly involved in during his last 21 appearances for Belgium, scoring 11 and assisting 12.

Tunisia failed to contain Hazard as he glanced past players and released Dries Mertens and Lukaku who took advantage of the space behind the Tunisian defence. It was the typical performance from Hazard, the kind we have grown to expect from him in his six years at Chelsea. The challenge now for the Blues, whoever is in charge, is to do everything they can to keep him.

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