Hazard works hard to make everyone better
Eden Hazard’s goals and assists are production that directly translate into points in the table and wins in the Champions League, but he offers so much more as a player. Because Hazard can keep possession for long spells and draw out defenders, he increases the most valuable commodity in football for the players around him; that commodity is space.
By drawing out defenders and spreading the opposition thin, Hazard’s ability to create width opens things up for the central players. As strikers, Jovic and Benzema will benefit the most from this, but they aren’t the only ones who stand to gain from Hazard’s tireless work on the outside. Young attacking midfielder Marco Asensio could receive more shooting opportunities from Hazard’s lay-offs when defenders are out of position, and technically gifted veteran players like Luka Modric and Toni Kroos could have more space to execute their deadly longshots.
Hazard’s impressive dribbles completed numbers, which include nearly seven dribbles completed per game at the 2018 World Cup, are an indicator of the sheer volume of work he puts in as a winger. The man wears defenses down, terrifying them as he runs straight for their hearts. By the end of the game, defenses are gassed, and it comes as no surprise that Chelsea were second in the Premier League in goals scored in the game’s final 15 minutes. Likewise, it comes as no surprise that Hazard was one of only seven players in Europe with at least five assists in the final 15 minutes.
Beyond that, Hazard’s consistency when running at defenders must be commended. With 137 successful dribbles and only 67 unsuccessful dribbles, he was the only player in Europe with more than 110 successful dribble and less than 70 unsuccessful ones. Furthermore, among attacking players, only Lionel Messi himself had more total passes.
Both as a runner with the ball and short passer, Hazard can keep things ticking for an attack. That brings in so many others around him into the game, and it is clear that Hazard will help make everyone around him at Real Madrid that much better just by his presence. The 28-year-old is the definition of a world-class talent, and Los Blancos can look forward to both his work rate and end product in the final third.