2014/15 was the season where Eden Hazard put himself out there, showed that he wasn’t merely a skilful player with a lot of potential, but a very good player, perhaps even a world-class one.
His outstanding technical ability was a key factor in Chelsea’s title resounding title win that year, and it was clear that he was a huge talent and an exciting prospect who could become one of the world’s very best.
Following his excellent year where his goals, assists, and all round brilliance fired Chelsea to the title, he made it clear that he wanted to take his game up a notch, and he said on numerous occasions that he wanted to ‘score the amount of goals that Messi and Ronaldo do’, and that was the area of his game that he was focusing on.
However, 2015/16 was, in short, a disaster.
It is hard to see exactly where things went wrong for Hazard and Chelsea, whether it was a lack of hunger, or maybe just that the players fell out with Mourinho.
What we do know is that by the end of his rein he had certainly lost the dressing room, and surrounded by an out of form team, Hazard found himself out of form too, and there were suggestions made that he was one of the players who had been involved in a major fall out with Mourinho.
So, playing under a manager he didn’t like in an underperforming team, the Belgian struggled; he didn’t get into advanced positions as often, he wasn’t running directly at players which he does best and he failed to score Premier League goal in the entire first half of the season.
Still, when Jose was sacked on December 17th 2015, and replaced by Guus Hiddink for the remainder of the campaign, Chelsea’s form slowly began to recover, and as results improved, the latter stages of the season saw Hazard offer glimpses of his former self.
His two goals away at Bournemouth were his first of the season, and he followed that up with an outstanding goal to hand the title to underdogs Leicester, a year after scoring the title-winning goal for Chelsea.
Another spark of utter brilliance was displayed against Liverpool with a special solo goal, and that late end of season form saw him go into Euro 2016 with Belgium with a fresh optimism.
His displays were satisfactory in France, with a number of solid but unspectacular games along with an impressive performance and trademark goal against Hungary, but whilst he played to a decent level himself, his country were sent packing by Wales in the quarter-finals, giving him the chance to return to Chelsea under new manager Antonio Conte and look ahead to a new season.
So, after Hiddink revived the spirit at the club and put them in a stable situation, Conte drilled Hazard and the rest of the squad and has quickly got them playing his way in his three at the back system.
He has taken what is and always has been a very good squad, but has turned them from mere solidarity to the team favourites for the title, and with Hazard now fully behind the ideas of his new boss, he has been able to thrive again, especially with the return to form of his team-mate Diego Costa.
In a slightly different role where the Belgian is a little bit further forward and closer to Costa, their simply ridiculous near telepathic link has been the reason for goal after goal after goal for the Blues this season.
His new found confidence has seen him run at defenders again and get into dangerous and goal-scoring positions, and a number of wonderful creative displays has seen him fire the team to the top of the table.
Now that the team is thriving, it is the perfect situation for him, but he must ensure that he doesn’t always play to the level of the rest of the side, and that he is capable of still performing whilst others may not be in form.
He is the main spark of creativity and genius in Conte’s scintillating side, and for now, it looks as if he has re-discovered his magic touch.