Much was expected of Hazard when Madrid forked €100m to bring him to the Santiago Bernabeu from Chelsea in June 2019.

Eden Hazard ‘downs tools’ too often

Eden Hazard “did not make a move to Real Madrid seriously” last year. According to ex-Chelsea forward Tony Cascarino, who says the Belgian winger “downs tools” too often. Much was expected of Hazard when Madrid forked €100m to bring him to the Santiago Bernabeu from Chelsea in June 2019. The 29-year-old has 110 goals and 92 assists in 352 games for the Blues, winning two Premier League titles, two Europa League crowns, and an FA Cup. However, his debut season in Spain was insufficient. As he managed to find the grid just once in 22 appearances in all competitions. Niggling injuries and fitness issues have limited Hazard’s contribution. So his latest sub-par showed that during Madrid’s last-16 second-leg Champions League defeat to Manchester City.

Watching Hazard against Man City was like watching a completely different player

The Belgian international only touched the ball just 37 times in a 2-1 loss at Etihad Stadium. The second-lowest total of any of the Blancos’ starters on the night – and failed to complete a single takeoff in 83 minutes on the pitch. Cascarino says Hazard is guilty of arriving in Madrid in the poor physical condition and that he did not recognize the player who returned to English soil on Friday. “We all know how brilliant Eden can be. We all know the difference he can make to the football team,” the former Chelsea striker told reporters. “But Hazard didn’t make a move to Madrid seriously, and he paid for it this season. He was overweight. He played catch-up, he’s getting terrible injuries. Watching him last night was like watching an entirely different Hazard.

“Kyle Walker must have been thinking, ‘Is this the same player I ran into at Chelsea? He’s a brilliant player, but he paid the price of being at Madrid for a large fee and didn’t take it seriously. He disconnects now and then. Madrid came out of the Champions League in the first stage knockout for the second successive year after not was able to overcome a 2-1 deficit from the first leg in February at the Santiago Bernabeu. The result in Manchester saw Zinedine Zidane get out of Europe for the first time in his managerial career. Still, he praised his winning LaLiga squad after the match and encouraged them to be “proud” of their efforts throughout the season.