Hazard has been in exceptional form this term, and Michel Platini has spoken to RTBF about the Belgian winger and his nation’s chances of success on the international scene.
Despite being considered as one of the best players in the world, the 24-year-old winger has never managed to show his impressive club form on the world stage. 53 caps have brought a return of just six goals, and he came under criticism at the 2014 World Cup for not leading Belgium further than the quarter-finals.
Whilst that criticism is harsh, with the Red Devils being knocked-out of the tournament by eventual finalists Argentina, it is true that Hazard didn’t perform to his highest level, especially having been so impressive in the Premier League season prior to the tournament.
He has carried on his incredible form this season with Chelsea, scoring eight goals and registering seven assists in 22 Premier League games. It is widely expected that Hazard will challenge for the PFA Player of the Year award come the end of the season, and he is considered vital to any success that the Blues will enjoy in the near future.
Should Hazard manage to transpose his club form to the international scene, he will be a real contender for the Ballon d’Or, and Michel Platini believes the 2014 World Cup was just a springboard for the winger, and the entire Belgium squad, to improve ahead of the 2016 European Championship, before reaching their peak in the 2018 World Cup.
The former French international said: “Eden Hazard is fantastic but he is not the only one, as others aren’t far behind him. We knew they would finally impress in the 2014 World Cup and that is precisely what happened. It was a springboard to go much higher in Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, where they are expected to reach their peak.”
Considered dark horses for the World Cup, Belgium are well on their way to qualifying for Euro 2016, and will rightly be considered one of the favourites for the tournament.