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Chelsea legend ‘surprised’ by Hazard’s struggles at Real Madrid: “Expected more from him”

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Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has said that he is really surprised by Eden Hazard’s struggles since joining Real Madrid after a breathtaking tenure with the Blues.

Hazard, 31, joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 and despite playing three and a half seasons with the team, he has managed just 68 appearances across all competitions while scoring a mere seven goals.

Throughout his Real Madrid tenure, the winger has struggled with injuries to an extent that he has already missed 11 games in 2022 alone.

Last season, although he made 23 appearances across all competitions, he managed to score a solitary goal. It must be noted that Hazard’s best return for Real Madrid has been a tally of three goals that he scored during the 2020/21 season.

Reacting to his poor run of form, Zola, while speaking to MARCA, pointed out that he expected a lot from the Belgian given that he is one of the ‘most talented players in the world’.

“I am very surprised by Hazard,” said the former Chelsea and Italy footballer. 

“Eden is one of the most talented players in the world and to see him suffer is something that is amazing to me. He has probably had some physical problems that have not allowed him to perform, but I expected more from him,” he added.

To say Hazard was a revelation for Chelsea would be a sheer understatement. Arriving at Stamford Bring ahead of the 2012-13 season, the wing-wizard scored a total of 110 goals in all competitions for the Blues.

And this is exactly why Real decided to splash over €100 million on the player. Before the start of the ongoing season, Hazard promised the fans that they would see the best of him this campaign, but as it turns out, he has started a solitary La Liga game for the team so far.

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti ‘liked’ €70 million Portuguese full-back offered to Real Madrid in January

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Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images

Joao Cancelo has, for a long time, been considered one of the best full-backs in the world of football. What makes the Portuguese international special is not just his ability to contribute flawlessly at both ends of the field but also the fact that he can recreate his magic on both flanks.

For a player of such quality to depart Manchester City unsurprisingly broke the internet. Cancelo signed for Bayern Munich on a six-month loan in January with a whopping €70 million purchase clause included in the paperwork.

According to reports from AS, the player preferred a move to Spain. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona were offered Cancelo’s services, and it was only after both La Liga giants rejected it that Bayern Munich got the chance to sign him.

For the Catalans, the player’s salary was the hurdle preventing his arrival. In Real Madrid’s case, however, it was the board’s reluctance to change the squad midway through the season.

For a long time now, Real Madrid have maintained a low profile in winter transfer windows. Carlo Ancelotti liked the full-back’s profile and saw him as a good fit, but the management would not hear of it.

Real Madrid have had a torrid time at the full-back position in recent weeks, indicating that the squad was in urgent need of new signings.

For almost a month, Ancelotti has been without a right-back after both Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal suffered injuries. Just as the latter recovered, Ferland Mendy hobbled off the field and could miss six weeks of action.

Cancelo’s signing would have thus been the ideal way to kill two birds with one stone. Nevertheless, the management have their faith in the young Vinicius Tobias and it remains to be seen if their gamble pays off.

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