ESPN pundit Craig Burley has said that Eden Hazard has been a very good player at Chelsea but he does not have the credentials to achieve the 40-goal target like Lionel Messi at Barcelona. The Belgium international is currently enjoying his best-ever season with the Blues and he has contributed 19 goals and 13 assists across all competitions.
Speaking on ESPN FC, the former Chelsea midfielder indicated that the Blues have been overly dependent on Hazard to produce the goods in difficult situations. He added that the Belgian can never become a Messi to deliver 40 goals through a campaign and that has hampered the team which has witnessed inconsistent performances from several players.
He said: “The trouble with Chelsea is the Plan A, B and C is get the ball to Eden Hazard. When A fails it’s get the ball to Eden Hazard, when that fails it’s still the same – get the ball to Eden Hazard. Everybody’s sort of waiting on this guy who has had a good season, but is carrying so much weight on his shoulders of quite a few that haven’t performed consistently. He’s not Messi. He’s a great player, a very good player, but you can’t rely on him to get the 40 goals a season. So others have to take control and take responsibility and I just think too often it’s like ‘he’ll dig us out the hole, he’ll dig us out a result’.”
Hazard currently has 14 months remaining on his contract with the club and reports have indicated that he could end his association with the Blues during the summer. The Belgian has shown no intention of penning a new contract to date and there are claims that he could pursue a dream move to Real Madrid after talking up the prospect over the past few seasons.
In this case, the Blues could be up for a different campaign next term with the transfer embargo currently under motion and it will be interesting to see whether other players step up to the plate. Christian Pulisic is scheduled to join the club from Borussia Dortmund after an agreement was reached at the turn of the year, and the attacker could have the task of succeeding the Belgian.