Eden Hazard's two possible shirt numbers at Real Madrid
The Belgian star was presented without a number on his shirt, with the expectation that he will inherit that of one of two departing players.
The rumours subsided, the signing was made official, a presentation was held, and Eden Hazard is confirmed as a Real Madrid player. But the one outstanding question is what shirt number he will wear, with two current stars likely to have to give up their place before we know for sure.
Hazard's 7/11 decision
With 50,000 fans there to welcome him, the Belgian winger's presentation at the Santiago Bernabéu couldn't have gone much better. But as he swapped silver suit for white kit, the one thing missing was a number on the back, just as had happened the day before with Luka Jovic.
From the images we saw in the home changing room, Hazard's name was already fixed in place, situated between Fede Valverde (number 15) and Lucas Vázquez (number 17), incidentally the same space that Jovic took yesterday. Number 16, as the positioning would suggest, does not seem likely for the new Galáctico (he is, no matter what he said in his first press conference), although that, and goalkeeper-friendly 13, are the only current ones available.
What is much more probable is that the Belgian will take a number that is already in use: either the 7 of Mariano (which was famously worn by Cristiano Ronaldo and Raúl before him) or 11, the current property of Gareth Bale.
At Chelsea and for his national side, Hazard wears the number 10 shirt, but Los Blancos have the reigning Ballon d'Or winner, Luka Modric owning that. In fact, in the Q&A Eden joked about that, saying that he had spoken to the Croatian through Chelsea teammate Kovacic to see if it was available. It wasn't, and he didn't mind as the shirt and badge were more important than the digit on the back.
Hazard started using 10 in his final season at Lille (2011/12) and then ever since Juan Mata left Chelsea for Manchester United in his third season in London. For Belgium he alternated between 7 and 10 in his early days before securing it consistently.