Within just six months, though, the Belgian seems to have lost every bit of that magic. The verve and skill that gave nightmares to many top players in the Premier League seems to have deserted him. The ease with which he escaped every defender was gone and the joy of watching him terrorize every team evaporated. Suddenly, he looks a different player – someone who has no resemblance whatsoever with the Hazard of last year.
So, what went wrong for the player and the club? The Belgian seems to have suffered more than most from the ill-effects of Jose Mourinho reign this season. There was utter chaos and the Portuguese wasn’t able to get the best out of his team. Hazard looked to be the worst hit and was almost a ghost this year – invisible for most of the games. To give an idea of how bad his performance dipped, have a look at this stat – since May 3, he hasn’t scored a single goal in a Chelsea shirt!
It wasn’t long ago when everyone at Chelsea were singing praises of the Belgian and were calling him the third best player on the planet – behind a certain Lionel Messi and one Cristiano Ronaldo. It could be easily argued that the slump of the team affected him and he is simply performing at the same level as his team. But, to be counted as the best, you have to lift your team constantly and consistently – something which Messi and Ronaldo do on a regular basis.
The arrival of Guus Hiddink didn’t change his fortunes overnight but there are signs of gradual improvement. He has scored four goals in as many games with Belgium in 2015/16 and this proves that he has not lost his touch. The lack of confidence at the club seems to have inhibited his skills on the field. It is notable that except for Willian every Chelsea player has struggled to play at a level as good as last year’s.
Hazard is too good a player to let this slump continue. And when he does find an answer, he is sure to enthrall audiences once again to his magic. It is just a question of when!