'I have had the worst season of my career' – Hazard admits to mixed emotions after Real Madrid La Liga triumph
Eden Hazard has admitted to having mixed emotions after Real Madrid’s La Liga triumph, insisting the 2019-20 campaign has been “the worst season” of his career to date.
Much was expected of Hazard when he completed a €100 million (£91m/$114m) move to Santiago Bernabeu from Chelsea last summer.
The Belgium international was initially seen as the natural successor to Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Juventus in 2018, but he hasn’t quite been able to live up to that billing during his debut season in La Liga.
A string of niggling injuries have hampered the 29-year-old’s progress in Madrid, and he has been restricted to just 21 appearances in all competitions for Zinedine Zidane’s side over the past year.
Hazard has only scored once during that period, with his former Chelsea team-mate Cesc Fabregas of the opinion that the winger has been a “little self-conscious” since his arrival at the Bernabeu.
The Belgian winger became a Liga champion last week, as Madrid secured a 2-1 home win over Villarreal to wrestle the top-flight crown away from arch-rivals Barcelona.
However, Hazard is not completely satisfied with his contribution, and has therefore been unable to fully revel in the club’s domestic success.
He told France Info : “This year, we collectively won this league title, but I have surely had the worst season of my career individually.”
Asked to discuss Zidane’s role in Madrid’s run to a 34th top-flight crown, Hazard responded: “We all know Zidane as a player, he was the best. 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.
“As a coach, he is like when he was a player. He is a simple person who knows how to say things at the right time. He trusts his players and his players trust him, that’s why it works.” Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid 2019-20
The former Chelsea star went on to praise the four Madrid stars that he believes have had the biggest impact on the team this term.
“Karim Benzema is very nice on a daily basis, very simple. He is there to win games, to score goals. I think this year has shown again that it is simply the best,” said Hazard.
“There is also [Raphael] Varane. In my career, I have met great defenders, such as John Terry or Vincent Kompany. I think Varane, while still young, is already one of the best central defenders in the world.
“The partnership he forms with Sergio Ramos is great. As for [Ferland] Mendy, he has shown that he is not there just to look pretty. If the club has signed him, it means that he has qualities.
“It is never easy to get to a club, when you are young, and in a club like that. He has shown that he represents the future.”
Hazard and Madrid will conclude their domestic schedule with a clash against Leganes on Sunday, before turning their attention to a Champions League round of 16 second leg showdown against Manchester City next month.
The mercurial attacker added on the Blancos’ chances of winning a unique league and cup double: “It was a somewhat strange season, with everything that happened. The season is already very good, but I think it can be even better if we qualify in our second leg of the Champions League round of 16.
“When you play for Real Madrid, you want to win all the titles. The next one has to be the Champions League, although it will be difficult because we have to play in Manchester City and they have a very good team.”