Eden Hazard’s eye for a pass and excellent work-rate has left two-time Chelsea footballer of the year Juan Mata kicking his heels on the bench this term, but the £32m midfielder faces a battle of a different nature in the coming years – to remain the best player in his family.
The 22-year-old was joined at Chelsea by 20-year-old brother Thorgan – who is currently on loan in his home country – when he moved to west London and two younger brothers are working their way through the youth ranks in Belgium.
Father Thierry Hazard plied his trade semi-professionally in Belgian’s second tier while his wife played as a striker before giving birth to Eden and the young Hazard boys have hardly been away from football pitches since.
After the eldest Hazard was crowned the best player in the French league for the second year running at the age of 21 Chelsea stole a march on most of Europe’s top clubs by securing his signature from Lille and Eden hasn’t disappointed, with nine goals and 11 assists during 2012/13 in his first league campaign at Stamford Bridge.
The second sibling in the burgeoning Hazard dynasty arrived in west London from Lens without the fanfare his brother produced and after being deemed unready for first-team action was shipped to Zulte-Waragem on loan, where he has started this season with seven goals in ten Belgian Pro-League matches.
Thorgan joined his brother in Marc Wilmots’ national squad after a spate of withdrawals at the end of last season and came on as a substitute for fellow Chelsea man Romelu Lukaku to make his Belgium debut against the USA in May.
The 17-year-old began his career by following his eldest brother into Lille’s academy and now plays for White Star Bruxelles.
Fathi Ennabli – Eden and Kylian’s former coach at youth side Tubize – believes the football family’s third child has all the attributes to emulate his illustrious brother, although the youth-coordinator does feel Kylian needs to mature quickly.
The fourth outfield player in this potential five-a-side team (dad Thierry can go in goal) is only eight and is not yet thought to be as enthusiastic about the beautiful game as the rest of his family, but he has followed the well-worn path into Tubize’s academy and judging on pedigree should be kept an eye on by Premier League scouts.