Former Lille winger, Eden Hazard, returns to France on tonight and he will be determined to show PSG the top class player they missed out on.
Back in 2012, Chelsea winger, Eden Hazard, had the world at his feet. He was easily one of Europe’s brightest prospects and every major club in European football had fluttered their eyelashes at Eden at least once.
In England all the top teams wanted him, with Manchester City and Manchester United apparently leading the race, at one stage Hazard even declared it would either be blue or red he would be wearing the next season, hinting towards a move to Manchester.
Chelsea’s unexpected victory against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final gave the London club a last minute chance to secure the Belgian winger. It was their re-qualification to the Champions League, plus the fact that Hazard would be able to secure a starting spot at Chelsea that made him pick the blue of London over the other two.
However, the other club that really wanted to secure his signature was, Paris Saint-Germain. It was the start of the Qatari-era, so the money wasn’t quite flowing yet, but the Parisian’s wanted Hazard to be their marquee name, their big money signing, the player that would lift them to the next level.
In the end they got both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, so they won’t be terribly disappointed, but Nasser Al-Khelaifi will always regard Hazard as the one that got away, and now, over two legs, the former Lille winger has the chance to show PSG what they have missed out on.
One of Wednesday night’s biggest battles will be on the right-side of PSG’s defence and Laurent Blanc has a big decision ahead of the game. Who does he play at right-back to combat the skills and trickery of Hazard?
Blanc could go with the only natural right-back he has at the club, Christophe Jallet, but the Frenchman is not quite at the level needed in the Champions League, and Hazard could have a field-day. The other option is to play 19-year-old Brazilian centre-back, Marquinhos, on the right. The Brazilian is a much better defender, but to play him out of position could give the youngster a very tough night against a player like Hazard.
Either way, the performances of the 23-year-old Belgian will be key in determining who advances to the semi-final.
Eden Hazard has a great chance to show the city of Paris that they missed out on one of football’s brightest stars, and no doubt there will be a few Lille fans with a wry smile on their face as they watch their favourite son torment the Parisian back-line come Wednesday night.