Martinez hails Belgium’s Hazard as Real Madrid rumours swirl

By AFP
Published: July 14, 2018
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27-year-old won two Premiere League titles with Chelsea as future uncertain at Stamford Bridge. PHOTO: AFP

27-year-old won two Premiere League titles with Chelsea as future uncertain at Stamford Bridge. PHOTO: AFP

SAINT PETERSBURG: Belgium coach Roberto Martinez praised the “winning mentality” of captain Eden Hazard, with Real Madrid reportedly mulling a move for the Chelsea star after the World Cup.

Hazard has been one of the players of the tournament as Belgium reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1986, before losing 1-0 to France.

The 27-year-old’s future is uncertain at Stamford Bridge, where manager Antonio Conte was finally sacked on Friday after falling out with the board and senior players last season.

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Real are said to be considering Hazard as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner joined Juventus this week.

“He’s one of the most complete footballers in the modern game,” Martinez said on the eve of Belgium’s third place play-off against England in Saint Petersburg. He’s probably one of the best footballers in one-v-one situations. He brings that understanding of how to break defensive systems down.

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He added, “I think the biggest aspect I can tell you that not many people can know is his incredible personality and his leadership. For a footballer who lives in the box and to score goals, he’s someone who never drops his standards.”

Hazard has won the Premier League title twice with Chelsea, in 2014-15 and 2016-17, since joining from Lille six years ago.

“He’s someone who’s got a winning mentality and he can play in any demanding team or club around the world,” added Martinez.

“As a footballer now with the maturity he has, you can build a winning project around him.”

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