News From Spain: Analysis: Should Eden Hazard stay or go in January?

Eden Hazard’s time at Real Madrid has been difficult, to say the least.

Having signed for a total fee of €146m from Chelsea in 2019, Hazard has struggled to hold down a regular place in the first team. A combination of injuries and poor form has meant that the Belgian has amassed just 51 La Liga appearances in three-and-a-half years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

This season, he has appeared just seven times in all competitions, with the latest of those being in the club’s narrow 1-0 victory over Cacereno in the Copa del Rey. Carlo Ancelotti would have hoped that the match could provide Hazard with the opportunity to revitalise his season with a good performance. However, he struggled to get into the game and was substituted after 68 minutes.

Tuesday’s match was very worrying from an Eden Hazard perspective. Playing against a club in the fourth tier of Spanish football, it should have been the perfect chance to play well and gain some confidence going into the second half of the season. However, it was another average showing from the Belgian, and it did very little for getting the critics off his back.

Time away from the club may be what’s required. It’s clear to see that Hazard is devoid of confidence, and the increased scrutiny from fans and media alike won’t help his performance levels. It may be best to take him out of this situation and allow him to just focus on football again.

With the news that Turkish club Fenerbahce are keen on taking Hazard on loan for the second half of the season, as per Defensa Central, it may present him with this opportunity to escape the Real Madrid limelight. Although there will be scrutiny in Turkey, it may not be quite as vociferous as it can be in Madrid.

Madridistas demand a lot from the team, and rightly so, and right now Hazard can’t seem to manage the required levels in order to perform up to standard. Taking time away from Real Madrid to focus on regaining confidence and trust in his own ability will help both him and the club in the long run. With a contract until the end of next season, Hazard could play himself into Ancelotti’s plans next season if he has a successful loan.

There’s aren’t many downsides to Hazard leaving this month. Although Real Madrid will be losing a squad player, his performances haven’t of the required standard anyway to justify any form of selection. With the likes of Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Marco Asensio and Federico Valverde who can play wide in the front three, there is sufficient cover to allow Hazard to leave. The club are said to be happy with a loan move, but the final decision rests with the Belgian.

It’s been a sorry state of affairs for Hazard since arriving in the Spanish capital, and it feels almost inevitable that he will depart the club next summer at the very latest. However, he has the opportunity to fully focus on playing, and playing regularly, should he choose to leave on loan this month, which could revitalise his career at the Santiago Bernabeu.