Since arriving in England’s top flight from Lille OSC five years ago, Eden Hazard has consistently been one of the most exciting and effective players in the Premier League.
Therefore, it’s no surprise then that he’s attracted the attention of some of the world’s biggest clubs, with none bigger than 12 time European Champions and current holders Real Madrid, now reportedly ready to swoop.
Zinedine Zidane looks set to add to his plethora of talent with another Galactico next summer and with the ex-Real legend openly admitting to being a serious admirer of Hazard’s quality, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague is now claiming the Frenchman will do everything he can in order to bring the Chelsea superstar to the Bernabeu next summer.
There’s little doubt that the 27-year-old would play a huge part in Zidane’s plans at Madrid; but given Los Blancos’ quality in depth in attacking areas, where exactly would the 2015 PFA Player of the Year fit in?
Hazard is a winger by trade, but is far from a classic byline speedster like Leroy Sane.
His low centre of gravity, flexibility, and quick feet make him a formidable weapon in any forward role. Coupled with this, his two-footedness also makes him an extremely versatile attacker.
This versatility will come as good news for a team that needs to accommodate the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Isco in attacking areas.
In this potential line up, Benzema would be resigned to the bench as superstar talisman Ronaldo would take up the striker role, with Bale on the right-flank.
This XI would ensure a pretty seamless transition from Chelsea to Real Madrid for the Belgian international, as he would slot into the position he’s played the majority of his career – left forward.
However, he would be expected to exercise the classic football mantra “get chalk on your boots” and stay a fair bit wider than he’s used to at Stamford Bridge, as Zidane likes to stretch the spaces between the opposition defenders.
Attacking Midfield/Number Ten
This scenario would allow Hazard to play as the creative focal point of Los Blancos, through the centre of the attacking third just behind the strikers; Ronaldo and Bale in this case.
Hazard often occupies this area in big games against the top six in the Premier League and acts as the key creative influence and out-ball for the defence.
The only negative here would be that Marcelo and Dani Carvajal would leave the defence somewhat vulnerable, as they would be forced to provide the sole width in the final third.
vs Liverpool: ⚽⚽⚽⚽⚽
vs Tottenham: ⚽⚽⚽⚽⚽
vs Man United: ⚽⚽⚽⚽
vs Man City: ⚽⚽⚽⚽
vs Arsenal: ⚽⚽⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/lj2zxGP1eS
— Hazard Stuff (@HazardStuff_) January 4, 2018
Interchangeable Forward 3
This is a more attacking formation that Zidane could employ against the so-called lesser teams, which would accommodate the likes of Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema and Hazard in attack; a terrifying prospect for defences, but a potential hindrance against better opposition.
Zidane would have to remove one of his fixed midfield three in Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric in order for Hazard to join the attacking quartet.
Hazard would again fill the number ten role, but would have Ronaldo and Bale to link and interchange with in attacking midfield.
This is the system that Jose Mourinho used at Chelsea in 2015, when Hazard arguably had his best ever season in the Premier League. On a weekly basis Hazard was interchanging alongside two other fantastic ball carriers in an attacking trio – Pedro and Willian – behind the physical Diego Costa as the attack’s focal point.
Only players to have 100 Premier League goals+assists for Chelsea:
Lampard – 237
Drogba – 158
Zola – 101
Hazard – 100 pic.twitter.com/9l4Qzm96Ly
— Hazard Stuff (@HazardStuff_) January 7, 2018
Hazard has also shown he’s capable of playing as a false-nine at Stamford Bridge, although it’s safe to say Chelsea don’t currently have the resources at Zidane’s disposal.
Instead of it being a headache tactically, it could actually be considered a positive in a potential move for him, as Zidane is once again tinkering with his side and looking to find another winning formula for his defending European champions.