Two goals and an assist to deliver a 4-1 victory over rivals Arsenal in Baku was the perfect parting gift from the man widely tipped to join Real Madrid this season, after seven successful seasons for the Blues.
Here’s a closer look at his star turn.
Goals – 2
Assists – 1
Shots – 3
Shots on target – 3
Dribbles – 5
Chances created – 6
Hazard started in his familiar left-wing berth, but in the first half he was well-marshalled by Arsenal right-back Ashley Maitland-Niles. Yet he remained a constant threat and he burst into life after the break, setting up Pedro with a lovely assist, converting a penalty, and then finishing off a one-two with Olivier Giroud.
The Chelsea No 10 had as many dribbles (5) as the second and third-best Chelsea players in that category on the night combined.
Hazard’s willingness to do the dirty work stood out. The simple move of getting into his own half and then putting his body in front of a wayward ball, shielding it to earn a foul or set himself for a run, worked time and again for his team.
The pass to set up Pedro showed what Hazard is all about. Lesser players would have settled for the obvious ball to Giroud that would have left the Frenchman facing a tight shooting angle. Instead he waited for the play to develop, and then found Pedro.
Hazard ended the game having created six chances, more than anyone else.
Eden Hazard on his Chelsea future: "Yeah, I think it's a goodbye. But you never know in football. My dream was to play in the Premier League and I've done that for seven lovely years." pic.twitter.com/SJ9Q764Xp2— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) May 29, 2019
Drifted out of the game in the first half
Though he’d seen plenty of the ball in the first half and showed some neat touches, he managed to do very little with it. Indeed, the standout player of the first half was the man matched up directly against him, Maitland-Niles.
However, there were signs towards the end of the half that Hazard was finding his best, and that’s exactly what happened after the break.
“I think it’s a goodbye.” So said Hazard in his post-match interview – no one was fooled by the “in football, you never know” that followed – and if this was indeed goodbye, he couldn’t have said it in a better way.
That’s two straight seasons that a Chelsea season has ended with their Belgian talisman scoring in a victorious cup final, so the big-game flop narrative should be put to bed. And he’s a two-time European winner now. Real Madrid are getting one of the best in the world.
RATING – 9/10
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