Injuries have been the one constant throughout Eden Hazard’s debut season with Real Madrid, yet Los Blancos are beginning to think that the Belgian is being unfairly targeted by opposing defences with statistics showing the former Chelsea forward to be the victim of a foul every 23 minutes.
Real Madrid believe there is a direct link to the sustained physical treatment Hazard has received this term and his high number of absences through injury, especially when you look at the foul on him made by international teammate, Thomas Meunier, in the Champions League.
In the game against Eibar, which was his return to competition for the Spanish club, Hazard was kicked directly on the previously damaged area near his ankle.
Nerves went around the Los Merengues’ directors’ box as the player writhed on the ground, yet he was able to bounce back and carry on.
Hazard’s style of play, with the ball virtually stuck to his foot, brings about trouble, especially when he cuts inside the pitch from the left and starts dribbling.
This encourages defenders to foul him as they often can’t adjust their body shape in time, despite knowing beforehand exactly what Hazard was going to do, just recall how difficult defenders found stopping Arjen Robben’s infamous cut-in on his left foot from the right.
So far in 14 matches, accumulating 1,008 minutes, Hazard has been on the receiving end of 44 fouls, all varying in degrees of severity.
This data is a serious concern to the Madrid club, who feel that their star signing is being unfairly targeted and not protected adequately enough.