Speaking at a press conference ahead of Belgium’s FIFA World Cup 2022 encounter against Morocco, Red Devils’ captain and Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard claimed that he is not bothered by the criticism directed towards him.
Since moving to Real Madrid in 2019, the 31-year-old has been constantly plagued by injury problems and fitness issues, as a result of which he has never been able to hit the heights expected of him at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Hazard has struggled for game-time at Real Madrid this season, but continues to remain a permanent fixture in the Belgium lineup despite his poor form.
There have been question marks over his spot in Roberto Martinez’s side but the former Chelsea ace insists that he is not bothered by what people say and remains focused on delivering his best for the team.
“When I started in Belgium I didn’t do very well either. Criticism doesn’t bother me, people talk and it’s part of football. I focus on the pitch. There will always be criticism. What I do is I try to focus on what I do on the field to help my team and I will always give my all,” he said (h/t MARCA).
Talking about his fitness issues, Hazard insisted that it was all a thing of the past and now he needs to keep playing regularly to get back to his best levels.
“Injuries are part of the past. I just want to enjoy myself on the pitch. Two years ago it was a difficult period for me. Now I’m fine and I want to show that I’m a good player. The more I play often, the better I’ll be. That’s how it is,” he added.
The Belgium captain also spoke about his team’s chances of winning the World Cup, stating that they were much better positioned to do it four years ago.
However, he did add that the Red Devils can still go the distance as they have the best goalkeeper in Thibaut Courtois, and the best midfielder in Kevin De Bruyne.
“We had a better chance of winning four years ago. We still have enough quality to win the World Cup, like the best goalkeeper in the world, the best midfielder in the world, good forwards… a very complete group,” Hazard said.
“We have the mentality to win; if we believe we can win, we can do it. If I play well, it will be easier for us to win the World Cup; now it’s my turn to make the difference, score goals and enjoy.”
Hazard played for a little over an hour in Belgium’s opening game against Canada and failed to make much of an impact. He will be hoping to fare better when his team face Morocco tomorrow, before taking on Croatia in their final group match.
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo