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REAL MADRID

A tale of two Edens: Hazard at Chelsea; Hazard at Madrid

Comparing his stats from the start of this season to last season shows the stark difference between the Hazard of Chelsea and the Hazard of Real Madrid.

Eden Hazard recognised at a press conference what the stats reflect: he is not at his best, that his contribution so far at Real Madrid has been limited and that much more is expected from him.

“It's true that people expect a lot from me and so do I,” said the Belgian star. "I know I can improve, I'm my hardest critic but we will improve by working every day… As I said at my presentation, I am not yet a Galactico.”

Hazard suffered a thigh muscle injury that delayed his start to the season and has slowed his adaptation. He missed the first three LaLiga games against Celta Vigo, Valladolid and Villarreal; reappeared against Levante with an uneventful 30-minute cameo; completed the match against Sevilla and was substituted against Atlético after 77 minutes. In the Champions League he played in the 3-0 PSG debacle in Paris (3-0) – a game in which his influence was minimal, as it has been in the league to date.

Comparing his stats from the start of this season to last season shows the stark difference between the Hazard of Chelsea and the Hazard of Madrid. In the four official matches he has played for Los Blancos (266 minutes), the Belgian striker has provided zero goals or assists, has shot on four occasions (an average of once per game), has only put two balls into the box, and accumulated a passing accuracy rate of 82%. The most significant stat is that of dribbling: 12 dribbles attempted (eight successfully) in four games. Compare that to the start of last season with Chelsea, when he scored five goals and provided two assists in the first five games.

Eden Hazard with the Europe League trophy after his final game for Chelsea.

Hazard’s best season at Chelsea

Hazard arrived in Madrid after what was arguably his best season with Chelsea, in which he tallied 21 goals and 17 assists in 52 games.

The Belgian waved an almost perfect goodbye to his former club in his last game in the Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku, scoring two goals and earning the man-of-the-match nomination. Such was his performance throughout the Europa League that he was also named player of the tournament.

In the Premier League last year, he played 32 games (2,926 minutes), scored 16 goals, gave 15 assists, took 2.5 shots per game, had an 84% passing accuracy rate (49 passes per game), managed 3.7 dribbles per game, and received 14 man-of-the-match awards.

In the Europa League he played four matches (the same number as he has so far played for Real Madrid), scored two goals (in the final), provided two assists, had an 87% pass success rate, managed 4.5 dribbles per game and was twice selected as man of the match.

Zinedine Zidane compared his own perceived slow start in Italy with Juventus to that of Hazard’s early experience at Real Madrid.

Hazard has yet to find his feet at Real Madrid

The valuable contributions, leadership and decisiveness that Hazard displayed throughout his career at Chelsea has yet to be seen at Real Madrid. Zero goals, zero assists and an average of one shot per game was not what was expected from him when he became second most expensive signing in Real Madrid’s history in July.

Nevertheless, Zinedine Zidane came out to defend the Belgian winger in his latest press conference yesterday, comparing his own perceived slow start in Italy with Juventus to that of Hazard at Real Madrid.

“The same thing happened to me and I was relaxed about it. I knew that things would start working out with time,” said Zidane. “It was much worse when I first moved to Italy. It took me three months before it all started coming together. I know Hazard is going to be an important player - he'll come good.”

Hazard will have a great opportunity to start bringing things together at the Bernabéu against Club Brugge on Wednesday night, without having to wait three months like his coach did in Turin all those years ago.