Eden Hazard isn’t ruling out a move away from Real Madrid at the end of the season after failing to carve out a starting spot for himself so far this season.
Although the 31-year-old is firmly focused on delivering for Belgium at the World Cup in Qatar, his future with Los Blancos remains a huge talking point.
With just six appearances to his name so far this season, Hazard admits he would be open to a move away from the Spanish giants if he was asked to leave.
Q. Does football still make you happy?
A. When I don’t play it’s difficult, but if I play, of course. Soccer is my life and I just want to play.
Q. How do you feel when you go Valdebebas in the morning? Three and a half years ago you wouldn’t imagine it would be like this.
A. I like it because there are many good players and very good people. It’s hard because I don’t play much, but there are good people and that’s what I want, to train and play with them. If I can help, all the better, but at the moment I can’t. I will try to give it my all.
Q. Is this World Cup your last chance to show that you are still that Hazard?
A: Yes, of course. I have to prove to everyone that I can play football. People have doubts about what I can do, but I don’t.
Q. What would you say about Hazard if you were someone else?
A. That he is a good boy, but that in three years he hasn’t had any luck. And that he is a good player who just has to play more football.
Q. Do you understand why people doubt you?
A. Sure! It is normal. I am a player who has not played many games in three years. I can understand it. I have to show it when I play, be it five, 10 or 15 minutes. I want to play and when I do I have to do it well.
Q. Despite going from being a star to your current situation, they say that you haven’t lost your smile and don’t create problems.
A. I am lucky to play soccer in the best team in the world. And that’s it.
Q. You said after your first season that you would be judged on your second season, but that didn’t work out well either. What grade would you give yourself since your signing?
A. Zero because I don’t play, but 10 for how I live this moment with the team. I don’t play but being a Real Madrid player was my dream when I was a kid and after this year I have one more season on my contract. I want to play for this club, with this shirt.
Q. Have there been any real options for you to leave during these years?
A. [Without finishing the question] No, no.
Q. Did Chelsea ever call you, maybe when Marina Granovskaia was still there?
Q. And why do you think this news came out: through the media, through the club…?
A. I have no idea.
Q. What are the chances you will leave in January or June?
A. In January it is impossible, because I have family and I like the city. But in summer it is possible that I could leave. I have one more year on my contract and it is the club’s decision. If the club tells me “Eden, thanks for the four years, but you have to go”, I have to accept it because it is normal. But I would like to play more, to show that I can play, that I am a good player.
Q. That’s what you said in Cibeles, that you would give everything to succeed at Real Madrid. What is missing?
A. Minutes, for sure. There are also players who are better than me at the moment.
Q. Where have things gone wrong? For example, you were singled out for being overweight in the first preseason.
A. But that has always happened. Every season is the same with me: during the season I have to work and play soccer, but when I have three weeks to rest, I rest, and I’m not going to change. This story was four years ago, although it was reality, but then I had two incredible months before the injury. Then I haven’t been lucky because of the pandemic and other things, like the injuries in the second year…. But for 10 years at Chelsea I played 500 games without injuries or anything, and then in two years all these injuries… It’s something I cannot explain. It’s something I can’t explain.
Q. They say you’ve been taking better care of yourself. Before I did not do gym and since a while yes, right?
A. Yes. Sure, sure. I have changed many things.
Q. Food too?
A. Food too.
Q. Looking back now, where do you think you have failed?
A. I don’t think I have failed. I played a lot of games in 10 years. There are times in life when you are a little bit unlucky with a game, an injury… and you have to understand the way you live. You can change things in life, but I think a lot of them were because of bad luck, a little bit because of the coronavirus, a little bit because of the confinement….
Q. You say you’ve had bad luck with injuries. Why did it take you so long to have the surgery again?
A. The first one was after playing against PSG and the second one, almost in three months; there were two fractures.
Q. I mean the last one.
A. This one has been different because it was because of a plate infection. I wanted to have surgery before, at the end of the second season because that season I had a lot of injuries and I thought there was something in my body that was not good. I wanted to remove the plate, but….
Q. But what?
A. The club told me “No, it’s impossible, you have to be calm. We talked to the doctors, it’s not a plaque problem.”
Q. Did you think it was something psychological?
A. Yes. I think it was. But the third year the same thing happened: injury, injury. I’m not saying it’s the fault of the club, the doctor or the operation; I mean it was a lot of things.
Q. What was the hardest moment?
A. At the European Championship, with Belgium. Because I had a month of incredible preseason beforehand and in the round of 16, against Portugal, I got injured.
Q.How do you see Belgium for the World Cup?
A. We’re a good team, with good players. We have more experience than in the World Cup in Russia, but I’m not playing, Lukaku has had injuries… We have doubts, but not inside. I think there are better teams than us.
Q. Which ones?
A. Brazil, for sure. France, Argentina…
Q. And Spain?
A. They are good. There are a lot of players who know how to play soccer and it’s a country that you know always has quality, with a good coach. I have friends in the team, so I have to say this [laughs]. They are good, of course.
Q. To the madridista who knows that they paid a lot of money for you and now says that you are finished and that you can’t be the player you were at Chelsea, what message would you send him?
A. I’m sorry, my friend. I try, but… I’m sorry. I have one more year and I have to prove myself, but it’s not easy: I don’t play, I want to play more. I’m really sorry, I’m sorry for what happened.