Eden Hazard: worse than Bale and Kaká at Real Madrid
Another underperforming and injury-prone big-money signing, Eden Hazard's situation can be compared to those of Bale and Kaká, although so far he has been comparatively worse.
He was absent for Madrid’s comeback win at Huesca (2-1) as well as the visit of Getafe (2-0) to the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano, two games that saw Madrid take a step forward to add six points that keeps them in the fight to reach Atlético at the top of LaLiga.
Injury issues have been the bane of Hazard’s Madrid career to date. This is the Belgian winger’s tenth injury since he arrived at the Bernabéu in the summer of 2019 for €100 million (plus variables).
The situation is largely reminiscent of those of Gareth Bale and Kaka. Both the Welshman and the Brazilian arrived at Madrid as big-money transfers (€101 million in the case of Bale, €67 million for Kaká), but neither were able to live up to their large transfer fees, due in a large extent to repeated injuries.
There are, of course, differences between the Bale and Kaká situations. Bale won four European Cups and was important in three of them, among other things; while the Brazilian played four years in white with his biggest achievement being the 100-point league title victory. Although he was not a starter, as Jose Mourinho preferred Mesut Özil in his starting XI.
Comparing Hazard, Bale and Kaká at Real Madrid
Hazard’s numbers are comparatively worse than the other two, particularly in terms of minutes played. The former Chelsea man has featured in just 35 of Madrid’s 81 games since his arrival, playing just 29.6% (2,176) of the total 7,350 minutes. And that percentage will continue to drop as Madrid plays more games this February without Hazard available.
Kaká, who suffered serious injury problems during his time in white while also struggling for his starting place due to the presence of Ozil, is not too far behind Hazard, playing just 33.5% of the total minutes during his time at the club (6,888 minutes of 20,430 minutes – 120 of 226 games)
Bale wins by far having played 62.6% (17,926) of 36,300 minutes (251 of 401 games). The Welshman's first two seasons at Madrid did not present many injury problems, which is when he offered his best level. It was from the third season on that the injury problems began to persist and his performances, in turn, went downhill.
In terms of trophies, Bale also comes out as the winner with 16 titles won in his seven seasons (four Champions League, two leagues, one Copa del Rey, two Spanish Super Cups, three European Super Cups and four Club World Cups).
Kaká won three trophies in four seasons (one league, one Copa del Rey and one Spanish Super Cup), while Hazard has won two in his season and half at the club (one league and one Spanish Super Cup, although he did not participate in the latter due to injury). It could be said that Hazard has won trophies at a faster rate than Kaka, although the Brazilian could respond by pointing to their respective individual figures, which are miles apart.
Hazard has provided just four goals and seven assists for Madrid; he scores a goal every 544 minutes and assists one every 311 minutes. For his part, Kaka managed 29 goals and 39 assists – a goal every 237 minutes and a decisive pass every 177 minutes. Bale, meanwhile, comes out as the winner again here with 105 goals and 68 assists, providing a goal every 170 minutes and an assist every 264 minutes.
Hazard has time to rectify his situation at Real Madrid
The only thing Hazard has in his favour is time. He is the only one of the three who remains active at Madrid, although Bale still has a contract until June 2022 and could return in the summer if Tottenham don’t want to keep him.
The Belgian has racked up these unimpressive numbers in a year and a half. But at the age of 30, he still has time to turn things around at Real Madrid and live up to the Galactico expectations that surrounded him on his €100 million arrival.