Eden Hazard is a man that splits opinion when it comes to international football with Belgium, but he is hoping to be the star performer for his side in Russia.
There’s little doubt that the forward is the superstar at Chelsea, and he is the individual that players make sacrifices for in order for him to play his very best.
This has been the case at international level too since Roberto Martinez was named manager in August 2016, and that hasn’t sat right with Flemish-speaking Belgium supporters, who believe that Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne should be the man that the team is built around going into the 2018 World Cup.
The French speakers are team Hazard having watched him tear up Ligue 1 before his move to Chelsea in 2013, and Martinez has put his faith in the 27-year-old to be the star since taking over – a decision that has been paying dividends recently.
As reported by the Mail, Martinez said of Hazard, who failed to light up the last World Cup or Euro 2016: “‘Eden has got a special ability that people want to pay to watch, said Martinez, who had no hesitation in making him his captain.
“He plays like he’s on the street. He just wants to get the ball, beat his man and then go right or left. He brings an incredible sense of normality to his football.
“‘It has been great to see him over the last two years and the maturity that has come from his performances. It has been a really nice feeling to see a shared responsibility with the players. I mean there is a real togetherness and Eden, as the captain, has been leading that.”
Hazard – who recently fired shots at England’s ‘Golden Generation’ – has certainly been hitting form at the right time, shining against Egypt on Wednesday, and Russia 2018 could finally be the stage upon which he stands up to be counted for, even with the critics trying to make their case heard.