Quite frankly, I’m sick of Eden Hazard, couldn’t care less which club he joins and don’t want to write about him. Until he moves and I can reel in some views. Thankfully John McGee came to the rescue, offering his view on the Eden Hazard situation and a glimpse into his future…
The football gossip pages of late have been awash with just one solitary name – Eden Hazard. Where next for the Belgian ingénue? Manchester, to City or United, orChelsea? All this after two years of murmurings and intrigue linking the diminutive midfield man with first Arsenal and then Spurs.
The saga (for once the word seems apt) ramped up a little this gone Sunday as Hazard claimed he would announce his destination via Twitter in the aftermath of a Ligue 1 season where his Lille side placed a respectable 3rd.
Fans rushed to draw comparison to basketballing egotist LeBron James feted announcement of his future club through a telecast in the summer of 2010. ‘The Decision’ saw the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster’s greatest back catalogue salesman announce his signing with the Miami Heat in a reveal which was Houdini pocked with outrageously choreographed hubris.
For Hazard, there has been no ‘Decision’ yet. On Sunday evening it was claimed that Chelsea’s Champions League success had led to second thoughts.
Rob Marrs, in a great article at Left Back in the Changing Room, wondered if it belied a lack of wherewithal between the ears – comparing Hazard to putative greats Alvaro Recoba and David Ginola whose undoubted brilliance was never realised, in part through their own self doubt.
I, however, found myself turning to another of sport’s unrealised, but indisputable geniuses as a touch point. The entire Hazard story has been tinged with an air of gnomic madness. Whereas other transfer dramas seem to be seeped in self promotion and ill will, Hazard seems to be in search of a very particular type of perfection. One senses that his continued stalling is born not of the desire to notch another zero to his paycheck but to be absolutely certain that things are just so to ensure he does his best.
For me, there was no thought of LeBron, little of Recoba or Ginola, scant time for those players most often bracketed with Hazard in terms of talent – he isn’t Messi, he isn’t Ronaldo, Eden Hazard, in search of perfection, unwilling to come to the party, the table, unless everything is just so, is football’s Bobby Fischer.
For those uninitiated, the American Fischer was a chess prodigy, one of the greatest the game had ever seen. But he was plagued by his own brilliance, a singular, introvert character obsessed with his craft and only at home at the table. But only on his terms.
Fischer’s single world title was won from the Russian Boris Spassky in 1972 in Reykjavik after a tortuous year long negotiation, a plethora of postponements and, eventually, in a sealed room and projected to the Icelandic public via closed circuit television. He never defended the title and died alone in exile a victim of a virile imagination that saw enemies of every corner, invented insensitive anti-semitic conspiracy theories and a boundless quest for the perfect game.
So if Hazard really is the footballing Fischer, what are we to expect of his next 10 years? It got me wondering…
1 June 2012 – Hazard finally breaks silence on his transfer. He will join Manchester City.
12 June 2012, 11am – Hazard arrives in Manchester for his medical at the Etihad. He is to be collected from the airport by a club BMW. On arrival the peripatetic Walloon suggests that he wishes to travel to sign terms in a 1983 Pontiac Firebird. He sits on the tarmac and waits.
12 June 2012, 12pm – word reaches Old Trafford that City’s Hazard deal has hit a snag. Sir Alex calls Wayne Rooney for help. ‘Wazza’ has a Firebird, but only a 1989 vintage. After a brief chat on the phone, Hazard agrees to pick United if Colleen picks him up in the Firebird with a McChicken Sandwich (no Mayo) and three cans of Mountain Dew.
12 June 2012, 3pm – Hazard initially refuses to give blood in his medical, claiming that United will use it to clone him and give the DNA to Flandrians. After a two hour heart to heart with Mike Phelan he’s tempted into offering a vein but then insists on signing his contract in his own blood too. The terms? £150k basic, goal bonuses to be paid in French Granny Smiths, appearance fees in moules frites.
12 June 2012 5pm – at his unveiling, Hazard requests that he be ‘actually unveiled’ from under a bed sheet by Avi Glazer. Fergie desists but grows weary as Hazard then insists on carrying out the press conference under the sheet ‘like Casper the Friendly Ghost’.
25th August 2012 – Hazard scores on Man United debut against newly promoted Southampton. After ramming home the goal he spots a man in a nice hat, telling Garth Crooks after the game ‘I liked the man in the hat, I want him to be at all my games in the future, he inspired me.’
26th August 2012 – The ‘man in the hat’ is identified as Southampton fan Bambos Plexiglas. ‘I want nuffing to do wi’ ‘im’ boasts the ruddy cheeked son of Hants.
2nd September 2012 – Plexiglas refuses to crack. Hazard refuses to play. United suffer a shock reverse away at QPR.
5th September 2012 – United find an innovative solution to the Plexiglas problem. They remove a seat in the Stretford End, replacing it with a 3D TV projecting a picture of the Hampshireman, complete with hat, onto the pitch. Hazard will have to wear Edgar Davids style 3D shades but it might just work.
September – February 2013 – a Plexiglas inspired Hazards crests United to a 15 point league lead and the latter stages of the cups. No-one is letting him in on the ruse.
14th February 2013 – Gervinho takes a shot from three yards which misses the goal by several furlongs cracking the 3D screen housing Bambos and his hat. Hazard walks from the pitch in disgust, pausing to call Sir Ferg a ‘chuddy gum cunt’ to his face.
3rd April 2013 – after an injury crisis Hazard returns to the United side but insists on playing in winklepickers. He is never far from controversy, though. In his first game back at Stamford Bridge he refuses to shake Kevin De Bruyne’s hand claiming the ginger haired schemer to be a ‘massive, hairy Flandrian bell end’.
June 2013 – Nike launch a range of ‘Hazard Winklepickers’. At the launch he craps into one of the shoes whilst hollering that they have been sent there by the KGB through their manufacture in a South Chinese sweatshop.
August 2013 – Hazard releases a statement via his agent claiming that anyone who buys Nike’s Winkelpickers is a ‘great big Chinese Flandrian’.
September 2013 – United give Hazard leave, claiming he is ‘exhausted’.
January 2014 – after months out of the media spotlight, Hazard grants audience to the Telegraph’s Paul Hayward. He spends the entire interview claiming that football was merely a means to an end designed to allow him to realise his dream of ‘building a castle in the shape of a waffle iron’.
June 2014 – Shanghai Shenhua announce the double coup of Eden Hazard from United and Bambos Plexiglas from Boots the Chemist. Hazard insists that his icon be shipped out to China to bring him peace. Rumours persist that Plexiglas transfer fee is a teenaged Korean bride and ‘all the Pho you can eat’.
January 2015 – despite scoring 48 goals in his first 28 games in China, Hazard claims he hasn’t settled. He reckons he is being watched constantly by ‘those Chinese KGB Flandrians’. Plexiglas has fled back home to Andover after Hazard insisted he guard the house 24 hours a day dressed as Gizmo from Gremlins 2 and armed with a taser.
June 2015 – Eddy Merckx and Jean-Claude Van Damme appear live on the Belgian version of Comic Relief pleading for Hazard to see the light and come home to Belgium. Van Damme earns censure for claiming Hazard’s actions are ‘not cool, unlike this Coors Light’ before taking a hearty swig of the once brewed rat piss he hawks on TV.
January 2016 – an overweight, bearded and clearly out of sorts Hazard signs for Standard Liege. At his press conference he claims it is his goal to crush the Chinese Flandrian grip on Belgian football. He fails to make a first team appearance.
April 2019 – after three years in exile Hazard is tracked down inSouth Sudan by a Spanish journalism student. The errant star needs little probing to offer his views on his fellow footballers: ‘Messi, Ronaldo, Aguero have absolutely destroyed football by their immoral, unethical, dribbling. These guys are really the lowest dogs around, and if people knew the truth about them, they would be held in more contempt than Ben Johnson.’
September 2020 – in the time since his last interview Hazard has continued to live a solitary life. He breaks his silence by posting a short video of himself on YouTube. In it, the dishevelled great firstly claims to have won the Ballon d’Or ‘several times in the real world’ before stating: ‘Messi is a fucking Flandrian. He and Ronaldo, Rooney, the lot of them are all like those Chinese shoemakers, they’re all the same, they cook up the result and they cheat. Filthy cheating Flandrians. They’d like to eat me, he Flandrians. I think they’ve got eating Hazard on their minds. They hate my guts. Or maybe they love my guts.’
June 2022 – Eden Hazard is found dead at his home in Biarritz. Far from his dream ‘Waffle House’, he dies in squalid penury. The wizened hand of his corpse clutches a picture of Steven Defour. The words ‘I fucking loved him’ are daubed across his face in Hazard’s spidery hand.
United, City,Chelsea, it’s your move. Queen’s Rook to King 7? Check.
Tagged Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky, Chelsea, chess, Eden Hazard, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Ginola, Iceland, LeBron James, Ligue 1, Manchester City, Manchester United, Miami Heat, Recoba, Twitter