Betfred Sport

Most Wanted: Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard could be the summer's most wanted player. He has become an integral member of the Lille and Belgium squad - and Zinedine Zidane gave the youngster a glowing report. The Real Madrid legend said: “Eden is technically gifted and very fast. I would take him to Real Madrid with my eyes closed. He can become a great footballer; he is a star of the future." A Lille player since 2005, he is now preparing for a switch to a bigger club.


AGE: 21




MARKET VALUE: £24,000,000


Eden Hazard is arguably Europe’s best young talent. The left winger has lit up the French Ligue 1 and has caught the eye of almost every top club in the world.

The 2010/11 season started extremely poorly for Hazard as he was dropped by both club and country due to his lack of effort in training. Putting the bad campaign behind him, Hazard switched to the number 10 jersey and scored in the 5-4 defeat to Marseille in the 2011 Trophee des Champions.

In Lille’s third game of the season, Hazard assisted Beniot Pedretti for his goal in the 2-1 win over Caen, scooping the man of the match award. A month later, he grabbed a brace against Saint Etienne and was credited with the man of the match award once again. He made his first Champions League appearance against CSKA Moscow and scored and assisted in his next league game against Sochaux.

Hazard then picked up blistering form, scoring the equaliser against Bordeaux before picking up one assist in consecutive games against Lorient, Trabzonspor, Rennes and Auxerre.

The Belgian did not score or assist until November 26 when he assisted Moussa Sow in the 2-0 victory over Brest and was named man of the match. After going nearly two months without a goal, Hazard finally broke his duck by converting a chipped penalty in the 3-2 win over Ajaccio. Two days later, Hazard was named in the UEFA Team of the Year for 2011.

Hazard then netted against Dijon and Nice. After scoring against Nice, Hazard celebrated by paying tribute to Molami Bokoto; a former Lille youth player who had died the day before. He also scored against Saint Etienne and assisted Nolan Roux in the 3-1 win. Hazard then scored a wonderful free-kick against Bordeaux and helped Lille equalise for 4-4 before Bordeaux grabbed an injury time winner.


He assisted Aurelien Chedjou against Rennes before scoring both Lille goals against Auxerre in the 2-2 home draw. Hazard then picked up form again, scoring against Valenciennes and assisting Chedjou and Tulio De Melo in the 4-0 demolition. The young winger scored and assisted Dimitri Payet in the 3-0 win over Evian before scoring and assisting again in the game against Toulouse.

Both Manchester clubs’ managers have scouted Hazard personally and Lille are resigned to losing their star man in the summer. The French club will not let him leave cheaply but Manchester City would have no problem affording any transfer fee. Sir Alex Ferguson is interested but could seek potentially cheaper options in Nicolas Gaitan and Iker Muniain.

Tottenham seemed favourites earlier in the race for Hazard but their slip up in the league means they could miss out on Champions League football. Spurs would have to smash their wage structure to lure Hazard from the grasps of the big spenders. Chelsea are keen but are also in danger of missing out on Europe, which could hamper any deal.

Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid have shown an interest but their already star-studded line-ups don’t need a left sided midfielder, with Cristiano Ronaldo in scintillating form and Alexis Sanchez impressing. Lille have ruled out a switch to rivals Paris Saint Germain but Inter Milan and Liverpool could bid for his services.

Hazard is a defender's nightmare. He can dribble at pace and is the same height as Lionel Messi, and has a low centre of gravity. Hazard has an eye for the spectacular and breezes past players with his brilliant skills. A fearless, explosive winger, who can change the game in an instant and is worthy of a place in a world class club’s starting 11.

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By Marcus Banks

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