Eden Hazard has taken to the pitch of the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for the first time and has spoken of fulfilling a dream. The player was presented in front of a packed stadium on Thursday evening and addressed the crowd before performing the usual tricks and flicks on the pitch.
“Hello everyone,” the 28-year-old said first of all, in Spanish before switching to French. “I want to thank my family a lot, even those who couldn’t be there. I am really keen to start playing for Real Madrid and to win many titles. It has been my dream since a young age to play for Real Madrid. Now that I am here, I want to enjoy it.”
The Belgian then made his way down from the stage and onto the pitch, showing off his skills and kicking balls into the stands in order for the fans, many of them kids who’d come straight from school, to have a special souvenir to take home. With a kiss for the badge and a “Hala Madrid!”, he provoked a number of cheers.
Afterwards, the new signing made his way to the press room and answered questions from journalists on a number of topics. To start, he echoed his comments about this being a dream moment. “Ever since I began playing football in the garden with my brothers, that is when I started to support Real Madrid,” he said. “To be a Real Madrid player and to wear this shirt is an honour. I can’t wait for the season to start. I think everything will turn out well.”
“I will try,” he said when asked if he could become the best player in the world in the Spanish capital. “I feel I am at my peak. It’s true that many Real Madrid players have won the Ballon d’Or in recent years, but I’m not thinking about that. When you are a Real Madrid player you want to win trophies. The fans demand a lot and the club wants to win it all. I have spoken a lot about Real Madrid with Thibaut Courtois and he told me not to hesitate about coming here as he said this is the best club in the world. I am very happy that he is also here and I hope we can win many titles together.”
Following on from the discussion on whether or not he has the potential to be the world’s best player, the playmaker was asked if he considers himself a Galactico signing. “No, I’m not a Galactico,” he replied. “Not yet. I hope I will become one one day. I don’t think I’m a Galactico. I’m just a very good player.”
Zinedine Zidane and Hazard have been mutual admirers for some time and the player spoke about the man who will be his coach. “Everyone knows that Zidane was my idol when I was a kid,” he said. “It was an important factor that he is the coach of Real Madrid, but it wasn’t only that. He will decide my position, although I have always liked to play on the left wing or as a No.10. But if I have to play in another position then I will do it for sure.”
Penalty kick duties and his shirt number, which hasn’t been decided yet, were two other subjects that were brought up. “I think Sergio Ramos is very good at penalties,” he said. “If he asks me to take them… well, I would. I think he’ll keep taking them. When you play for Real Madrid there is never one single star. The team is the star. As for the shirt number, I talked with Luka Modric through Mateo Kovacic and jokingly asked him if he could lend me the No.10, but he said no. But honestly, this isn’t the most important thing for me right now.”
Before Hazard spoke as a Real Madrid player for the first time, president Florentino Perez also took the stage and addressed the crowd.
“Today is a very happy day for Real Madrid,” he said. “A marvellous player, one who is different, is arriving to form part of our team. He is a player who can make football something passionate and surprising. Our history and legend has been forged by these kinds of players. We are Real Madrid and want more titles, which is part of our identity. I have wanted to say this for some time, give a warm welcome to the new Real Madrid player Eden Hazard!”
The fans in the stands did exactly that. Eden Hazard is now well and truly a Real Madrid player.