He is sometimes overlooked in the conversation, but there is no doubt that Eden Hazard is one of the best players in the Premier League and even the entire world.
The Chelsea and Belgium midfielder possesses remarkable footwork where the ball seems to be on a string, and a low centre of gravity makes it particularly difficult to shrug him off the ball. He also has excellent vision, pace and he is a great finisher (not to mention an assured penalty taker). His play is widely praised by everyone and is a player that many admire, even drawing praise from fans of rival teams to Chelsea.
He has all of these abilities at just 24 years old, and importantly he also is level headed and is not a player to make the headlines for the wrong reasons. Hazard keeps his head down and works hard, and this also means that not a huge amount is known about the astonishing midfielder that is often classed with the likes of Ronaldo and Messi. Here are 10 interesting facts about the Chelsea and Belgium attacking playmaker.
1.) His parents were both footballers.
It seems Hazard was destined to play football as both his parents played, and his mother even played whilst she was pregnant with Eden. His mother, Carine, was a striker in the Belgian women’s first division, whilst his father, Thierry, played semi-professional in Division 2 with La Louviere. Both would go on to become sports teachers after their playing days.
2.) He is the eldest of 4 brothers, including Thorgan Hazard.
Eden is the eldest of 4 brothers, all of who have gone on to play football. Kylian plays for Zulte Waregem, Ethan is in the Tubize youth academy (Eden’s old team), and his well known brother Thorgan plays for Borussia Monchengladbach but is on loan from Chelsea. Perhaps one day brothers Eden and Thorgan will line up alongside one another in the Chelsea midfield, now there is a terrifying thought for the rest of the league.
3.) He is married and has 2 children.
Although just 24 years old, Eden Hazard has his own family with a wife and 2 children. He met his partner, Natasha Van Honacker, when they were just 14 years old and they married 7 years later. Their first son, Yannis, was born in 2010 and in 2013 Natasha gave birth to their second son, Leo. Coming from a footballing family, scouts around the world will be following the young Hazard boys closely no doubt.
4.) He was brought to Lille as a 14 year old.
Hazard was first spotted by a Lille scout when he was playing for Tubize, and he was so impressed with Hazard that he met with his father and offered Eden a youth contract. He arrived in Lille at just 14 years old in 2005 and signed a professional contract 2 years later. He would soon break into the first team and become a star, attracting the attention of the top teams in Europe.
5.) He won Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year in consecutive seasons.
Hazard enjoyed a stunning few years at Lille, which is what paved his way to come to Chelsea with a number of other top teams eyeing the Belgian too. He won Ligue 1 Player of the Year in both the 2008/2009 season and 2009/2010 season, and would then go on to win the Player of the Year award in 2010/11. Since arriving at Chelsea, Hazard has picked up the PFA Young Player of the Year award in the 2013/2014 season, and many believe that he will take home the Player of the Year award at the end of this campaign. This shows remarkable consistency at a very young age and it will be interesting to see what the next few years bring for him.
6.) He brought a 79 year old fan to tears with a gift.
79 year old Meme Francine is a die hard Belgium fan, and upon hearing about her good luck message for the team Hazard decided to surprise her with a signed and personalised shirt and video message. Meme Francine was so taken back by this gesture that it reduced her to tears and ensured Hazard became a favourite with mums around the world.
7.) He leads the league in successful take ons this season.
When watching Hazard play, the first thing you will notice is his remarkable dribbling ability. He is a magician with the ball and he keeps it close to his feet at all times, in addition to this he is also very difficult to shrug off the ball despite his size. He leads the league in successful take ons this season, leaving most defenders in the dust or scratching their head when they try to obtain possession from him. This makes him one of the most entertaining players to watch in the world.
8.) He is the most fouled player in the Premier League.
When you attempt as many take ons as Hazard, it means that defenders are going to be desperately trying to dispossess you. Seeing as Hazard dribbles the ball so close to his feet, and he moves so quickly, it often means that he is kicked and fouled. It can also be particularly frustrating for opponents who are more likely to lash out after being danced around time and time again. This makes Hazard the most fouled player in the Premier League.
9.) He is joint 7th in PL scoring and joint 8th in PL assists.
Although there is much more to his game than scoring goals and getting assists, Hazard has proven hugely valuable in providing or setting up goals throughout his career. Some players excel in one of these areas, but he has shown talent and ability to do both. He has 12 goals to his name so far this season, an impressive tally for a midfielder, as well as 7 assists. Some of these have been crucial for Chelsea and they have relied on him at times this season to spark the team.
10.) He and Berbatov have the best 100% penalty conversion record with 9 apiece.
There are few players in the world who take a penalty as coolly as Eden Hazard. He shows nerves of steel to wait until the keeper moves, and then calmly strokes the ball home in the opposite direction. It is a bold strategy, but it is clearly working for the Belgian as he has a 100% record in the Premier League with 9 from 9. Only Dimitar Berbatov can match this, with Yaya Toure close behind having converted 8 from 8. This is another facet to Hazard’s game which makes him so valuable.