Eden Michael Hazard is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a winger or attacking midfielder and captains the Belgium national team. Widely considered one of the best players in the world, Hazard is known for his creativity, speed, dribbling and passing. Hazard is the son of two former footballers and began his career in Belgium playing for local youth clubs. In 2005, he moved to France where he began his senior career, joining Ligue 1 club Lille. Hazard spent two years in the club’s academy and, at the age of 16, made his professional debut in November 2007. He went on to become an integral part of the Lille team under manager Rudi Garcia, racking up over 190 appearances. In his first full season as a starter, he won the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award, becoming the first non-French player to win the award. In the 2009–10 season, Hazard captured the award again, becoming the first player to win the award twice. He was also named to the Ligue 1 Team of the Year. In the 2010–11 season, he was a part of the Lille team that won the league and cup double and, as a result of his performances, was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year, the youngest player to win the award. Hazard was also given the Bravo Award by Italian magazine Guerin Sportivo for his performances during the 2010–11 season. In June 2012 Hazard signed for English club Chelsea; he won the UEFA Europa League in his first season and the PFA Young Player of the Year in his second. In the 2014–15 season, he helped Chelsea win the League Cup and Premier League, earning him the FWA Footballer of the Year and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year awards. Two years later he won his second English league title as Chelsea won the 2016–17 Premier League. A year later he won the FA Cup, scoring in the final. In 2018, he was named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI. In June 2019, Hazard joined Real Madrid for a transfer fee of up to €150 million. Hazard is a Belgium international, having represented his country at under-17 and under-19 level. Hazard made his senior international debut in November 2008, aged 17, in a friendly match against Luxembourg. Nearly three years after his debut, Hazard scored his first international goal against Kazakhstan in October 2011. He has since earned over 100 caps, and was a member of the Belgian squad which reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Euro 2016. At the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he captained Belgium to third place which was their best finish in history, receiving the Silver Ball as the second best player of the tournament.
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Hazard primarily plays as either an attacking midfielder or a winger and has been credited as being “possibly the outstanding talent in Europe right now”. At Lille under former manager Rudi Garcia, Hazard often played in the latter role in the team’s 4–3–3 formation and regularly switched flanks because he could use both feet. Following the departures of fellow play-makers Yohan Cabaye and Gervinho in 2011, during the 2011–12 season, Garcia played Hazard in a creative role as a central attacking midfielder, while also allowing the player to roam back onto the wing if necessary. Two of Hazard’s most common exemplary traits are his pace and technical ability, which have been described as “astonishing” and “mesmerizing”. His speed and dribbling skills, combined with his creativity, as well as his flair, balance, agility, and low centre of gravity, courtesy of his diminutive stature (1.73 m/5 feet 8 inches), allow him to retain possession, take on defenders, and beat opponents in one on one situations. At Chelsea, Hazard matured into a world class player and was primarily utilised as a left midfielder, a position which enables him to cut into the centre and strike on goal with his stronger right foot. His development into one of the world’s best players was highlighted in the 2014–15 Season; during this season he won multiple awards and received praise from pundits and manager alike. Manager Jose Mourinho praised Hazard, saying that “He is already a top player and his evolution has been fantastic. He is still very young and he can become the best player in the world.” Hazard’s former teammate and Lille captain Rio Mavuba described Hazard as “a great player, with an immense talent. He’s actually not that big, but he’s so fast. He’s also very difficult to dispossess and his finishing is top notch”. Hazard’s frequent goal celebration saw him sliding on his knees; since 2018 he has stayed on his feet. Although Hazard’s favoured role is as a left winger, he is a versatile attacker, and has also been deployed as a second striker, as a lone striker, or even as a false-9 on occasion throughout his career. Beyond his speed, creativity, technical skills, and offensive qualities, he is also an accurate penalty and free kick taker.