‘Galactico for now’ Eden Hazard needs to shine with the world watching as Real Madrid wait for Kylian Mbappe… he will never have a better chance of proving his worth to the club than by putting in a performance against PSG
- Real Madrid visit Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday in the Champions League
- Eden Hazard feels like the ‘Galatico for now’ and is the star of Real Madrid side
- That is until PSG forward Kylian Mbappe’s price falls to a reasonable level
- Hazard can prove his worth by sparkling in Neymar and Mbappe’s back-yard
- He has had an injury-interrupted start to life in Madrid after move from Chelsea
Real Madrid face Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night relieved that they don’t have to face long-term target Kylian Mbappe and anxious to give a Champions League debut to the player they did manage to sign in the summer, Eden Hazard.
Hazard feels like the ‘Galatico for now’. He is the star of the Madrid team until Mbappe’s price falls to a reasonable level. Currently he has a deal up until 2022 and there is no release clause so if PSG don’t want to let him leave then they don’t have to.
Hazard will never have a better chance of proving his worth to Real Madrid than by putting in a sparkling display in Neymar’s and Mbappe’s back-yard but it will not be easy because as his coach Zinedine Zidane admitted at the weekend: ‘What he needs now is training sessions. He has only had six so far.’
Eden Hazard feels like the ‘Galatico for now’ – Real Madrid’s star until Kylian Mbappe arrives
Real Madrid face PSG relieved that they don’t have to face long-term target Mbappe
Hazard can prove his worth by putting in a sparkling display at Neymar and Mbappe’s home
Hazard was accused of being overweight in pre-season by one prominent Spanish football journalist citing sources at the club who believed he had turned up seven kilos too heavy. He then picked up a hamstring injury which kept him out of the start of the season.
His former Chelsea team-mate Cesc Fabregas defended him at the time although also as good as admitted that Hazard can have weight issues.
‘It surprises me that his weight is talked about,’ Fabregas said. ‘It seems people have not seen his seven years in the Premier League. Maybe the pre-seasons are hard for him.’
He came on at the hour mark on Saturday against Levante with Real Madrid winning 3-1. It was a difficult debut for him as the visitors scored again to leave Madrid hanging on to a 3-2 lead in the final stages.
It certainly couldn’t be said that he had made the team better on Saturday. Thibaut Courtois indicated half-seriously, half-joking, that he had, in fact, made the team worse.
‘I got a bit annoyed with him because he lost possession with a couple of back-heel flicks,’ said the Belgium keeper with a broad grin on his face after the match.
It won’t be easy as boss Zinedine Zidane admitted: ‘What he needs now is training sessions’
The Real Madrid keeper is a long-time friend of Hazard’s off the pitch and the criticism was passed off as friendly but it wasn’t the only comment on Hazard that caught the eye.
Former Real Madrid player and coach Jorge Valdano is now a TV pundit and when he said in his co-commentary of Saturday’s match: ‘What a compact body he has, and with his shirt outside his shorts even more so,’ it was interpreted on social media as an insinuation that the Hazard is still overweight.
Courtois will be busy at the other end of the pitch making sure he is not overshadowed by the man he replaced at Real Madrid, Keylor Navas.
The Costa Rican keeper made an impressive debut in Ligue 1 at the weekend, now is his chance to make Real Madrid sorry they ever jettisoned him for Courtois.
Thibaut Courtois will try to make sure he’s not overshadowed by fellow keeper Keylor Navas
The Belgian keeper reached the final of the competition in the 2013-14 season but has since failed to get beyond the last-16 stage since. In contrast Navas has three winners medals in the competition.
‘Navas responds in the really big games, especially in the Champions League,’ said Raphael Varane this week in Le Parisien. The 32-year-old’s team-mates did not want him to leave the club and on Wednesday he will be the man Hazard, along with an in-form Karim Benzema and a back-from-suspension Gareth Bale, has to beat.
There is a chance that the PSG test has come too soon. Hazard was very honest in an interview with UEFA about how soon he will be able to make an impact.
‘Playing in a different league I will learn new things. The playing style is a bit different and so is the preparation. I will learn gradually,’ he said.
PSG’s Navas has the chance to make Real Madrid sorry they ever jettisoned him for Courtois
If that’s the case then Bale and Benzema will need to step forward. For PSG the same will be asked of Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia in the absence of Neymar and Mbappe.
The two most expensive footballers in history might not be on the pitch but they are still the reason why PSG are considered such a direct rival to Madrid.
Neymar is the kid who had a trial at Madrid in 2006 as a 14-year-old but went on to join Barcelona. When he left the Nou Camp in 2017 Real Madrid’s president publicly declared that he would have loved to have signed him.
Most Real Madrid supporters now want to see the club sign Mbappe and because of that Perez has switched his focus.
Last summer all he could do was bring in Hazard. He would love to be able to say after 90 minutes in Paris: For now, that’s all we need.