Eden Hazard has had his best season in Chelsea colours without a doubt. He has swept clean all the awards on offer in England, bar none. Now the fleet-footed Winger has leaped beyond Cristiano Ronaldo in some aspects. A CIES report stands proof to that statement.
In inspiring manner, Eden Hazard has come a long way from being grilled by Mourinho for being lazy in the Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid in 2014. The Blues’ top earner is now rated as being more valued than Portuguese gem Ronaldo. Hazard has fried every right back on offer in the Premier League without an exception.
The Belgian captain has showed up with important assists and goals when it mattered the most. All this while providing an eyegasmic display of skill and concentration. Indeed, the highest number of fouls have come his way but he carries on unaffected. Featuring in almost every match the Blues played. It is these qualities that get you to the top of the world. Hazard is on his way.
The mentioned CIES report names Treble winner Leonel Messi as the most highly valued footballer on the planet. Hazard has shocked many in over-taking Messi’s nemesis CR7 on the list, who is now ranked third behind the Premier League winner. Hazard achieved this by scoring 14 goals in the league, 9 assists. In addition to that, he had 3 goals in the Champions League and 2 assists. Not the metronomic figures managed by either of the two La Liga stars, but other factors matter in the valuation.
The CIES takes into account the players form and performance, but more importantly than that is the length of the contract and the age of the player. 30 somethings are a rare thing in the top 100, leave alone top 20. Cristiano Ronaldo proves his worth by merely being there. Hazard has a good six years on the Portugal man, and thus makes the pip. He is also helped by the newly signed contract, which runs into 2020, unlike Ronaldo’s that expires in 2018.
For a short comparison of how dreaded Hazard has become in the League, refer to the comparison matrix at squawka. Lionel Messi has played the same number of games for Barcelona in the League as Hazard. In fact, the number of minutes they spent on the pitch is almost identical, differing by a mere two minutes. Messi has drawn 88 fouls in that span of time while Hazard has been fouled 113 times. It is not a small difference, it’s a huge one. For all intentions and purposes, Messi remains the best that there is (alongside Ronaldo for now) but Hazard is catching up at a lightning pace.
Hazard is integral to everything Mourinho aims to achieve at the Bridge. In Mourinho’s own words, the main objective in the summer for Mourinho has been to keep Hazard:
“My first target this summer is done,”
“That is to keep the players I want to keep. In other seasons, I was happy to sell players, even if they were obviously good players. Not this summer.
“I keep Hazard, Matic, Fabregas, Diego — all these important guys. That is the first start.”
This report should not start mindless social media fights where haters argue whether or not Hazard merits it position, which has been the case. Given the parameters that factor in that report, its absolutely correct. However if they are so intent on such arguments, the presence of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane should be questioned first. But nobody shows their own dirty laundry, do they.
In addition to Hazard, Costa, Fabregas, Courtois and Oscar also feature in the top 20 of the list. Next year should go a long way in deciding what is the limit for the little Belgian.
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