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It's early days in a new team and a new environment but Eden Hazard has failed to get going at Real Madrid in pre-season thus far, leading to some pretty strong criticism from the Spanish media.
It was reported that Hazard arrived at the Madrid 'out of shape' and 'a stone overweight' after enjoying his summer off and while it's only pre-season, his last three games - against Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Spurs - have been underwhelming to say the least.
Last night, in the Audi Cup game with Spurs at the Allianz Arena, Hazard was partially at fault for the only goal of the game in a first half when he made Marcelo scramble to try and keep an errant pass in play.
Hazard and Marcelo doing a double Bakayoko skill move. You don't see this everyday.:flushed: pic.twitter.com/LMTGIpDeKl- Kush Moore (@tobeykush) July 30, 2019
But his general play was less than impressive as the Belgian struggled to seriously impact the game - prompting Marca's Juan Ignacio García-Ochoa to state that Hazard has had "three anonymous matches" and "isn't that x-factor the fans need to get behind the team".
He's better than this :see_no_evil:https://t.co/2MnVcAvlvb- Best of Football (@BestofFootball8) July 30, 2019
"Hazard still hasn't found his place in this Real Madrid team," Garcia-Ochoa writes in his piece for MARCA.
"He's an extraordinary player who is currently being hampered by the team's overall poor performances. Zidane has put him on the left, and up front, but he still doesn't affect the side's play regularly.
"He delighted in the match against Bayern Munich, but has now had three anonymous matches. Of course he will succeed in Madrid, but for now he isn't that x-factor the fans need to get behind the team."
If Hazard's sluggish displays continue in competitive games than that's when fans and media will get irate like they have with so many other top players in the past.
For now though, it does feel a little difficult premature to criticise him as we're all expecting him to light up La Liga like he did in the Premier League.
In fact, former Real Madrid and Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o has backed Hazard to succeed in Spain and win the Ballon d'Or. The Cameroonian also paid Hazard a huge compliment in adding that the 28-year old is not far off reaching Lionel Messi's level
"Hazard has to win the Ballon d'Or," Eto'o told Marca.
"He hasn't been valued enough but now he's at one of the best teams in the world all eyes will be on him. He's close to Messi's level and I hope that he plays Barcelona when he's not at 100 percent."
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