Jose Mourinho has opened up about Eden Hazard and why he has fallen short of expectations since signing for Real Madrid.
Mourinho has managed the Belgian playmaker at Chelsea and says he is an ‘incredible player’ but doesn’t always put the maximum amount of effort into his training and could be even bigger if he was “super professional”.
Hazard was one of the Premier League’s best players during his time at Chelsea, having worked under Mourinho for two and a half years at Stamford Bridge, during Special One’s second stint in charge.
His performances and superb scoring record for the Blues – 110 goals and 92 assists in 352 games – saw him seal a big money transfer to Real Madrid, for a free £ 140million.
Heralded as a direct replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, it hasn’t quite worked out that way in Spain, with Hazard struggling for form, fitness and with constant injury issues since joining the Bernabeu.
Hazard has managed just five goals and eight assists in 43 games since joining the La Liga giants in 2019.
Mourinho was asked about the 30-year-old when he joined talkSPORT for his last appearance on Breakfast.
Speaking to Alan Brazil and Ally McCoist at Friday’s talkSPORT breakfast, Mourinho said: “The truth about Eden Hazard?
“The truth is what you see from him, he is an incredible player with terrible training.
“You can only imagine what he could be like with a super professional attitude in training.
“In the end, he is an incredible child, he is an incredible family man, he seems not to belong to this generation of players, he is very calm and is totally focused on the family, on the children , on parents, on a very calm life.
“But he walks into the field every morning and… he doesn’t work a lot.
“When he steps onto the pitch, you don’t see the reflection of a week’s work, you just see the reflection of his talent.
“He’s an amazing player and you can imagine if he was a top professional. When he went to Real Madrid I thought wow, this guy is going to the biggest club in the world and is going to feel this huge pressure to always be on top, this guy is going to win the Ballon d’Or, because he is incredible.
“But in terms of fitness, speed, fitness, he would be a much better player. [if he trained properly]. What you are seeing is just the talent that brought Eden to where it is.
“He had more injuries at Real Madrid, in his time with me at Chelsea, he didn’t have any, he might have had one but it was nothing serious. But in Madrid he got into that negative dynamic with his injuries and that probably affected him.
It’s not just his club form that has been affected by his recent fitness struggles, Hazard has gone from playing Belgium to not currently in the starting lineup.
The 30-year-old is part of Roberto Martinez’s squad for Euro 2020 and has made two appearances in the country’s first two wins against Russia and Denmark, but as a bench substitute in both matches .
However, Mourinho expects Hazard to play a major role in the Belgian race, with the Red Devils being one of the favorites for the title.
He added: “In that case he’s back in Belgium, back on the big stage, you can feel he has a good relationship with Roberto Martinez, but he’s on the bench right now.
“But he will be ready to jump in to win watches, so I think Belgium will end the Euro with Eden at the start and probably at the top of his game.”