Does football still make you happy?
“When I don’t play it’s difficult, but if I play, of course. Football is my life and I just want to play.”
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.
“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.”
Is this World Cup your last chance to show that you are still that Hazard?
“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.”
What would you say about Hazard if you were someone else?
“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.”
Do you understand why people doubt you?
“Of course! It’s 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.”
Despite going from being a star to your current situation, they say that you haven’t lost your smile and don’t create problems.
“I am lucky to play football in the best team in the world. And that’s it.”
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?
“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.”
More confidence from Zidane than from Ancelotti?
“I’m not in contact with Zidane, but at the end of the second season with him he told me ‘Whatever happens, you have to look forward and enjoy this club.’ They are almost the same people, two different coaches but equal as people. I have great respect for both.”
Vinicius being targeted in LaLiga, similar to Hazard in the Premier League
“It’s normal, he’s the best player on the team. He has to think that this is the life of the best footballer in the world, think only about playing, not talking to people. He has to focus on the ball and the goal.”
Have there been any real options for you to leave during these years?
Did Chelsea ever call you, maybe when Marina Granovskaia (Former Chelsea director) was still there?
And why do you think this news came out: through the media, through the club…?
“I have no idea.”
What are the chances you will leave in January or June?
“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.”
That’s what you said in Cibeles, that you would give everything to succeed at Real Madrid. What is missing?
“Minutes, for sure. There are also players who are better than me at the moment.”
Where have things gone wrong? For example, you were singled out for being overweight in the first preseason.
“But that has always happened. Every season is the same with me: during the season I have to work and play football, 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.”
They say you’ve been taking better care of yourself. Before I did not do gym and since a while yes, right?
“Yes. Sure, sure. I have changed many things, including food.”
Looking back now, where do you think you have failed?
“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….”
You say you’ve had bad luck with injuries. Why did it take you so long to have the surgery again?
“The first one was after playing against PSG and the second one, almost in three months; there were two fractures. The last one was different because it was due to 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 the club told me “No, it’s impossible, you have to be calm. We talked to the doctors, it’s not a plaque problem.”
Did you think it was something psychological?
“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.”
What was the hardest moment?
“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.”
How do you see Belgium for the World Cup?
“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 like Brazil, for sure. France, Argentina…”
“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.”
To the Madridistas who know that a lot of money was paid for you and now say that you are finished and that you can’t be the player you were at Chelsea, what message would you send them?
“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.”