Eden Hazard reflects on lack of playing time & his Real Madrid future
Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard has insisted he still sees himself at the club next season, despite an almost complete lack of playing time so far in 2022/23.
Hazard has one more year left on the contract he signed upon completing a €100m transfer from Chelsea in 2019. He has played only 98 minutes in La Liga all season and none at all since September.
The 32-year-old has struggled with injury throughout his time in Madrid, but manager Carlo Ancelotti has gone in a completely different direction this season and a fully fit Hazard has spent most games on the bench as an unused substitute.
“I want to play. I want to have fun on the field,” Hazard told RTBF.
“Training is good but what keeps us alive are the matches. I hope deep inside me that I can bring something and that the coach is still counting on me, I hope. We’ll see if I’m still going to play by the end of the season. I doubt a little. It’s up to me to show him in training that he can call on me.”
With Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Federico Valverde, Marco Asensio and even Mariano Diaz ahead of Hazard in the Real pecking order, the Belgian went on to admit that, in Ancelotti’s eyes, he ‘probably deserves less [playing times] than others’.
Even so, Hazard has little intention of continuing his career elsewhere
“I would like to stay. I have always said it,” he explained. “To hope to play on the pitch to prove that I can still play football. People have doubts, it’s normal. I understand very well. But for me, I’m still here next year. A transfer is not in order of the day. But you never know.
“I don’t know [what could change my mind]. The only thing I think about is playing. That’s why I don’t even think about leaving. Deep down inside, I think I can bring something. I feel it, that’s all. People, if I bring a little, they’ll trust me again. They might say to themselves that they made a mistake leaving me out. I just need minutes in the legs.”
England will be considered failures if we don’t win Euro 2024
England defender Harry Maguire has revealed he will head to Euro 2024 with the mindset that anything less than winning the competition will be a failure.
The Three Lions have cemented their status as a strong tournament team over the last half-decade under the guidance of Gareth Southgate.
After reaching the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 2018, England were only denied victory at Euro 2020 on penalties against Italy in the final.
There were high hopes that they could go all the way at the 2022 World Cup over the winter, but were narrowly beaten by reigning champions France in a hard-fought quarter-final.
England kicked off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win at Italy, and speaking to the press post-match, Maguire revealed his ambitions for glory in Germany next summer.
“I think for me, at my age as well, 30 years old now, I’m with a mindset of, ‘If we don’t win the tournament, it’s been a failure’,” he said.
“We’ve got to qualify first – I mean it’s a tough group, [but] we’ve come here and got an amazing result.
“But that’s my mindset. I’ve been at three major tournaments now and I’ve come so close. I believe we have the players to win it. We went into Qatar wanting to win the tournament. So ultimately, when we get knocked out, as a squad we’re disappointed. The performances were good, we kept the most clean sheets at the tournament, we were one of the top goalscorers despite going out in the quarter-final.
“I’m speaking on behalf of myself but I know from speaking to the other lads as well, they were really pleased that Gareth stayed [on as manager]. We’ve built something as a group and he’s been the leader of it. He’s been the one who’s given us hope and given us belief as a country to be successful in these major tournaments and, for sure, it benefits us for us for him to be in charge.
“These big tournaments are decided on the finest margins. We played really well in the World Cup and ultimately, we got knocked out by a good French team. A French team that we believe we can take on and if we play them ten times, we would give them a good game ten times and probably win more than we lose.
“However, they’ve proven over the years that they manage to get the job done better than England do. So it’s something that we’re working on. We have so much talent and so many young players coming through.”
Maguire recognised that England were simply beaten at the 2022 World Cup by a more experienced and successful international side in France.
Despite reservations over Didier Deschamps, the 54-year-old has an incredible tournament record – to have won one final and lost two others is a far better record than most other coaches in the history of football.
England hope to be on a similar path with Southgate, but as Maguire insisted, they need to win a tournament if they’re to be remembered fondly and without tinges of regret.
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