[dropcap]C[/dropcap]helsea superstar Eden Hazard has managed a complete sweep of the individual awards this season. After having been crowned as the PFA Player of the Year, the Belgian international went on to lift the Football Writers’ award as well. He is one of few players in the last decade to have won both awards in a single campaign. This statistic should instil a lot of fear into Chelsea fans for one particular reason; almost all of those who have won both awards have subsequently left the club soon after.
There seems little possibility of Hazard doing the same, as he signed a new five-year contract only a few months ago. The Belgian is one of the highest-paid players in the Premier League and he has a contract running until 2020. Yet, a player’s head can always be turned and clubs are often forced to sell an unhappy player even if he has several years left on his contract. Dismissing any thoughts about a move away from Chelsea in the near future, Hazard stated that he is ready to stay at the club even for the next 10 years. He said:
Why change? If you’re happy and things are going really well at one place, there is no need to change.
The Champions League is the one thing missing from my career. So if I want to be considered in that upper, upper level of top players I need to win the Champions League at some point.
Hazard is completely different from the superstars the game is used to nowadays. The 24-year-old takes care of himself extremely well and does not get caught up in the back pages for the wrong reason. He is rarely injured during the campaign. These qualities – aside from those on the pitch – set him apart from the glorified footballers, who appear to earn a lot more than they deserve.
Jose Mourinho regards Hazard to be the third best player in the world behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Yet, one cannot help think that there is a significant gap between Hazard and top two places. A 19 goals and 11 assists from 45 appearances this season may seem extremely good, but it is simply dwarfed by the figures set by the Real Madrid and Barcelona superstars. The former has scored 59 goals in 47 appearances, while Messi is not far behind with 56 goals in 50 appearances.
Both, certainly in the case of Ronaldo, are approaching the twilight of their careers and it may not be long before a player like Hazard takes over the mantle.