Eden Hazard arrived at Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 overweight and his fitness levels two to three weeks behind the rest of his team-mates.
A year and a half later, it’s not exactly got much better for the player who cost Real £88million – a staggering fee that will eventually rise to a whopping £150m.
Spanish newspaper Marca recently labelled Hazard’s time in Madrid as a ‘nightmare’. And at the weekend the 29-year-old fell to his lowest point when he came off 28 minutes into the 2-1 shock defeat against Alaves with a thigh injury.
Eden Hazard suffered his eighth injury blow in Real Madrid’s shock defeat by Alaves
The 29-year-old is expected to be out of action until mid-December at the earliest
Hazard (right) arrived at Real with great expectations but has struggled for form and fitness
It was the eighth injury the former Chelsea star had suffered in 18 miserable months.
Indeed, since leaving Stamford Bridge he has missed 35 matches, and even when he has returned to fitness he has only managed a maximum of three games before suffering setbacks.
‘It seems like Eden Hazard’s injury woes at Real Madrid will never end,’ read the report in Marca’s Monday edition.
It is terribly frustrating not only for Hazard but for those who sanctioned the deal to make him the most expensive player in Real’s history.
Hazard hasn’t managed to play more than three games in a row since joining 18 months ago
Head coach Zinedine Zidane has stuck by Hazard but the Real hierarchy have grown impatient
Combine the £88m initial transfer fee and the £30.8m paid in wages (£400,000 per week over the last 77 weeks), Hazard has so far cost the Spanish champions an eye-watering £118.8m.
That’s £63,900 for every minute of the 1,859 he’s played, £4.2m for each of the 28 appearances he’s made, £39.6m for each of the three goals he’s scored and £29.7m for the three assists he’s provided. Those figures also don’t account for the bonus he would have been paid after Real pipped Barcelona to their 34th league title.
The shrewd thinking of Chelsea’s hierarchy, headed by Marina Granovskaia, also means Real will continue to fork out for Hazard well into next year.
Given the way Granovskaia brokered the deal, Real have to continue paying Chelsea in instalments regardless of whether Hazard is fit and playing or not.
Hazard’s injuries at Real Madrid
August 16, 2019-September 10, 2019 – Hamstring injury (missed three games)
November 27, 2019-December 5, 2019 – Bruised ankle (one game)
December 5, 2019-February 10, 2020 – Hairline crack in fibula (17 games)
February 23, 2020-May 9, 2020 – Fissure of the fibula (three games)
June 29, 2020-July 9, 2020 – Knock (two games)
September 1, 2020-September 28, 2020 – Knock (three games)
September 30, 2020-October 27, 2020 – Muscle injury (six games)
November 7, 2020-November 20, 2020 – Positive coronavirus test (one game)
November 28, 2020-mid-December (expected back in training – muscle injury)
Information from Transfermarkt
This year’s instalment of £50m was paid despite Hazard having only played 15 times over the last 12 months.
It’s not exactly the value for money Real president Florentino Perez was looking for at a time when the club is doing everything it can to balance the mammoth cost of coronavirus. A cost which has seen them have to heavily reduce the wage bill.
With Perez not known for being typically understanding, it is down to head coach Zinedine Zidane to try and help Hazard through the next few weeks of his recovery.
And that isn’t an easy task with Zidane himself under considerable pressure with the title holders seven points behind unlikely league leaders Real Sociedad.
There have been rare glimpses of Hazard’s brilliance but the rest of time it’s been pretty torrid
Hazard made 16 La Liga appearances last season as Real pipped Barcelona to their 34th title
Games he could miss
Tuesday Shakhtar Donetsk (A)
Saturday Sevilla (A) LaLiga
December 9 Borussia Monchengladbach (H)
December 12 Atletico Madrid (H) LaLiga
While Zidane doesn’t have ‘an explanation’ for his side’s torrid form – three games now without a win – he is of the firm belief that Hazard will return to the high standards that saw him move from Chelsea to Real in the first place.
He also dismissed the suggestion that Hazard would be mentally scarred after eight injuries in such a short space of time.
‘No,’ said Zidane. ‘Sometimes injuries happen and we have to endure. He is strong, I have no doubt. He is having a hard time lately. We are going to help him to get better soon.
‘It is a complicated situation for Eden. He has never been injured in his career and now has more misfortunes. He will surely come back stronger. We look forward to seeing him with us again.’
Zidane must fear, however, that even if Hazard can stay mentally strong, because his body has taken such a battering it will take a long time before he can excel on the pitch.
His injuries have been a mixture of muscle tears and fractured bones. The worst of which was a hairline crack of the right shin that kept him out for 17 games between late December last year and February.
Only a couple of weeks before his latest setback, Hazard tested positive for coronavirus, which ruled him out for a couple of weeks in November. Back in the side at the back end of last month he started to deliver, scoring in the 2-0 Champions League over Inter Milan.
‘Vital points in the Champions League,’ Hazard captioned several images of him in action on Instagram.
Yet three days later against Alaves and any hope of playing more than three games in a row were dashed.