Eden Michael Hazard (born 7 January 1991) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays for Chelsea and the Belgium national team. He primarily plays as an attacking midfielder and a winger. Hazard’s creativity, speed, and technical ability are widely acknowledged. He has been described as “a superb passer” and has earned critical acclaim for his playing style, which has led to the media, coaches, and players drawing comparisons to FIFA Ballon d’Or winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Hazard is often ranked by coaches, colleagues, and commentators as one of the best players in the world.
Hazard is the son of former Belgian footballers and began his football career in Belgium playing for local clubs Royal Stade Brainois and Tubize. In 2005, he moved to France joining first division club Lille. Hazard spent two years in the club’s academy and, at the age of 16, made his professional debut in November 2007. He went on to become an integral part of Lille under manager Rudi Garcia, racking up over 190 appearances. In his first full season as a starter, he won the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Young Player of the Year award becoming the first non-French player to win the award. In the 2009–10 season, Hazard captured the award again becoming the first player to win the award twice. He was also named to the league’s Team of the Year.
In the 2010–11 season, he was a part of the Lille team that won the league and cup double and, as a result of his performances, was named the UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Year becoming the youngest player to win the award. Hazard was also given the Bravo Award by Italian magazine Guerin Sportivo for his performances during the 2010–11 season. In June 2012, after spending over eight years at Lille, Hazard signed for English club Chelsea, where he went on to win the UEFA Europa League in his first season and the PFA Young Player of the Year in his second. In the 2014–15 season, he helped Chelsea win the League Cup and Premier League, earning him the FWA Footballer of the Year and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year awards.
Hazard has been credited as being “possibly the outstanding talent in Europe right now”. At Lille under former manager Rudi Garcia, Hazard often played in the latter role in the team’s 4–3–3 formation and regularly switched flanks because he could use both feet.
Hazard is a Belgium international, having represented his nation at under-17 and under-19 level. Hazard made his senior international debut in November 2008, aged 17, in a friendly match against Luxembourg. Nearly three years after his debut, Hazard scored his first international goal against Kazakhstan in October 2011. He has since earned over 70 caps, and was a member of the Belgian squad which reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Due to the absence of Kompany, Hazard was named captain of Belgium for the UEFA Euro 2016 finals and reached the quarter finals before bowing out to Wales.