“I want to be the best; I hope one day I can win the Ballon d’Or, maybe not now but if I work every day and take pleasure from my game then why not?”
Following his Player of the Season award at Chelsea, Eden Hazard was interviewed after the ceremony and was asked what his goals were in his career, he claimed that winning the Ballon d’Or was something he was hoping to get the privilege of receiving one day. Is this a realistic goal or just a dream for the young Belgium midfielder?
Hazard’s first season in the Premier League was a fantastic one, scoring 14 and assisting seven which saw the young winger stamp his ability on the league. His brilliant start was awarded by being voted the PFA young player of the year which also boasts the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Cesc Fabregas down the years.
The Ballon d’Or is the biggest individual honour a player can receive in his career – it is given to the best player of that season whether it be put down to goals scored, how many trophies were won or how important a player is to the team (Fabio Cannavaro for example). In this current era, to become the best you must be above Ronaldo (current holder) or Lionel Messi (won it four years in a row), so how does Hazard compare to these two?
So far this season Hazard’s statistics are as follows:
The predicted total is the number of goals and assists the player currently has to games played. Times it by the amount of games he could play (41 games) to get the end result. Hazard has a goals/assists per game ratio of 0.4 – times that by 41 and it equals 18.2 goals/assists.
Hazard last season had a combined total of 21 goals/assists so he must perform better to increase his tally. For a 23-year-old winger, however these stats are still representative of a class player, but when you compare them to Ronaldo and Messi they’re significantly disproportionate.
87 goals/assists is a number which sounds ridiculous if you’re playing a computer game on easy for a whole season but yes, if Ronaldo were to continue his form throughout and play every possible game in the league and Champions League he would reach 87 goals/assists. With Messi just behind him with 73 goals/assists, it shows that Hazard is no where near the Ballon d’Or from a statistical sense.
Apart from this season, I looked at the goals and assists each player had last season in a ‘big game’. Arguments can be held over the definition of a ‘big game’ but I have chosen matches which:
- The player played against a team in the top six
- The player played against a team vying for the Champions League
Even though Messi scored against Ajax home and away last season that doesn’t make the cut, and even though Ronaldo scored a hat-trick away to Galatasaray last season that also doesn’t make it. I’m looking for matches which had the most impact on where they finished or how difficult it would have been to progress. This is how it follows:
|Names||Big Games Played||Goals||Assists|
With Barcelona being knocked out so soon in the Champions League and Ronaldo picking up an injury during the season, Hazard had the most games to prove himself and unfortunately did the worst out of the three. This may come across as harsh as he’s only 23, playing in just his second season for Chelsea, but if you claim you want to win the biggest prize in football you need to prove that it can be done. By the age of 23 both Messi and Ronaldo had won the Ballon D’or, which shows that Hazard seems a fair way off the pace.
So what does Hazard need to do to become the best player in the World?
The answer is to perform at the highest level in the biggest games of that season. Ronaldo and Messi last season were arguably similar in terms of ability but what edged Ronaldo ahead of Messi was the World Cup play-off tie against Sweden. Ronaldo scored all four goals in the home and away matches to push Portugal through, that game defined Ronaldo for the season as being truly the best player of that year. Hazard under performed at the World Cup in Brazil but avoided criticism much of the press, as Belgium reached the next World Cup.
Hazard still has time on his side, and one of the best managers in the world, Jose Mourinho guiding him along the way. To compare himself to Ronaldo and Messi results in a futile conversation as these two players are head and shoulders above almost everyone at the moment – Luis Suarez is a part of the conversation. With Ronaldo hitting 30 and Messi currently playing in a transitional Barcelona, it could represent Hazard’s best opportunity to place propel himself onto a similar level as the two footballing greats.
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