Eden Hazard’s start at Real Madrid was not an easy one; he suffered from an injury and struggled for form as he tried to acclimatize to a new environment and work himself back into shape. The latter part of his troubles saw him come under considerable criticism until recent times, and Hazard spoke about that in an interview with French news outlet L’Equipe:
I won’t hide this, when I’m on holiday, I’m on holiday. I’m one of those people who can gain and lose weight easily. When I was 18 and with Lille, I weighed 72 kilos [159 lbs]. This summer I went up to 80 kilos [176 lbs] but managed to lose this in just over ten days.
Presumably, he’s talking about having shed those pounds recently, as he looked out of shape well into the start of the season. However, things have turned around for him (seemingly coinciding with visible signs of better physique) and he’s now enjoying life in the Spanish capital:
I’ve been happy with how things have gone in the past month. I’ve scored, provided assists and won a spot kick for the side. In this past month, I’ve been on the ball more and been able to accelerate past rival players. In my initial games, I tried to play in a more straight forward manner.
Courtois has been key in helping me adapt [and] with so many French speakers at the club [like] Varane, Mendy, and Benzema, it makes things far easier.
Eden also talked about the decision to wear the famous and high-pressure #7 jersey:
It was initially being used by Mariano and I didn’t want to make a fuss about a number as it’s not my style. I knew that Modrić wore number 10 and when at Chelsea I wore the number 17, but I also knew that that was allocated to Lucas. In the end it was a decision made by the club.
Per usual, Hazard was asked to speak to any potential future transfers. He admitted that he had received many offers from PSG but stated that he would always deny them:
I will never play for PSG. They have wanted me many times. I don’t have any intention to return to a Ligue 1 club other than Lille. I have always said no to them [PSG]. In my head everything is clear. It is a team that would give you a chance of winning the Champions League, but they are not among my priorities. If I return to Ligue 1, it will be Lille.
Hazard ended the interview discussing Zidane and the differences between the Frenchman and Maurizio Sarri:
He’s [Zidane’s] a man of few words. He keeps things simple but he always takes time to talk to me before a match which helps me feel more relaxed. “Be happy”, he tells me. He’s a person who goes straight to the point and is hugely fond of his players. He’s keen to maintain an emotional link with the team, even with those players who fail to start. We always train with the ball and focus on straightforward quick drills. Sarri was a little more strict and focused on repetition. I spent three seasons with Italian coaches and it’s easier to find oneself with Zidane.