Eden Hazard is no stranger to Ballon D’Or nominations. However, he was yet to face a truly long term injury. That is until Belgium and Martinez blessed him this summer.
He was out of most of the preseason and then made a stunning comeback from injury. In doing so, not only did Hazard exhibit his physical traits, he highlighted the psychological strength he has. A place among the Ballon D’Or nominees is a motivator of its own kind and should get Hazard to work on getting even better.
N’Golo Kante was already nominated in the first list, Hazard’s name had to wait for the last one, with Cristiano Ronaldo himself. Now Hazard has spoken for the first time since the nomination. He seems to know what it takes to stay at the very top of the game.
Named alongside Blues teammate N’Golo Kante, the Belgian international is one of 30 players shortlisted for the award in recognition of a standout 2016/17 campaign in which he helped Chelsea reclaim the Premier League title.
However, an injury sustained on international duty in the close season ruled Hazard out for three months – subsequently causing him to miss the beginning of the current campaign – and he admits it wasn’t easy to come back.
“I missed football for three months. It is not easy to come back,” he said.
“I worked during the summer. I just want to play football.
“I just want to play football and try to bring the best out of me.”
Having been eased back to full fitness, Hazard has started just one Premier League game thus far, but has played a key role in helping the Red Devils to secure their place at next summer’s World Cup by topping their qualification group.
This latest nomination makes it four times in which the talented forward has been shortlisted for the prestigious award and he has the opportunity to celebrate in style when the Blues return to action on Saturday against bottom-of-the-table and goalless Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.