Having linked up with Belgium ahead of Euro 2020, Eden Hazard will want to put a difficult season with Real Madrid behind him.
He may struggle to escape the long shadow of La Liga, however, if his latest interview is anything to go by.
While speaking to national broadcaster RTBF at Belgium’s training camp, he was interrupted by international teammate Yannick Carrasco singing “campeones, campeones!” in a moment which left him, his interviewer and the camera crew chuckling awkwardly.
Carrasco plays for Atletico Madrid, Real’s cross-town rivals, and played a prominent role in their title triumph last term. They finished two points ahead of Real with a narrow win against Valladolid on the final day of the season, winning La Liga for the first time since 2014.
Given how much criticism came his way when he was spotted laughing with his former Chelsea teammates after Real were beaten in the Champions League semi-finals last month, Hazard was cautiously diplomatic in his response.
“Very good, very good. Congratulations, friend, incredible,” he said. With Carrasco continuing the ribbing off camera, Hazard gave him a sarcastic wink and thumbs-up.
With Belgium playing friendlies against Greece and Croatia before kicking off their Euro 2020 campaign against Russia on June 12, Hazard will hope to maintain his fitness and find some form before then.
Roberto Martinez’s side are among the favourites to win the tournament and, if he can coax Hazard, Carrasco, Romelu Lukaku and the rest of his superstar squad into playing their best football, they should be able to beat anyone.
Hazard’s two seasons at Real have been badly disrupted by injuries, which have left him looking increasingly peripheral when he has made it onto the pitch.
Despite rumours that he might call a premature end to his time at the Bernabeu, Carlo Ancelotti has suggested that the former Chelsea talisman still has an important part to play at the club.
“Hazard is a top player,” he said, having been appointed Real manager for the second time earlier this week.
“He had problems with injury and still hasn’t brought out the potential he has, but he will because he has the desire to do that.”
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