Eden Hazard’s move to Real Madrid is one that has felt like years in the making. As has been the case with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, the Belgian was no stranger to expressing his desire for this move, and, last summer, the least surprising transfer of the year eventually went through.
At first, it appeared a match made in heaven. It had been a few years since a true Galactico, with Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez in 2014 - a year after Bale's record-breaking deal - being the last superstar dealings.
Hazard looked to be one of the few worthy candidates to wear the number seven shirt left behind by Cristiano Ronaldo. The former Chelsea man has been arguably the best player in the Premier League over the last few seasons, and even with the fee potentially exceeding £150m, it looked like a solid investment. After years building himself into superstardom at Stamford Bridge and teasing the likes of Los Blancos with his trickery each week, it was a move nobody argued, even the most hardcore Chelsea fans.
Whatever Hazard dreamed his first season with Madrid would look like it certainly wasn’t what he got. Starting the season with a hamstring injury meant that he didn’t get his first start until mid-September, which eventually came in a 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain, where the winger failed to create any chances in an anonymous performance.
Playing away in the Champions League isn’t the ideal start to life at a new club, so many swept it under the carpet in the hope that Hazard would hit the ground running in the league.
Life in La Liga also wasn’t treating the Belgian as expected, however. It took Madrid’s new star until his fifth game in the league to register a goal or assist. It’s not as if his side were struggling in that time either, running parallel with Barcelona at the top. Indeed, Hazard’s first five games with Madrid were unbeaten, only dropping points in a 0-0 draw against rivals Atletico Madrid.
The former Lille star's performances remained to be quiet and an injury picked up in the return fixture against PSG in November all but wrote off his debut season, forcing him out until February.
So far, it has been far from the fairytale start Hazard would have hoped and as we all expected. The likes of Ronaldo and Bale have had astronomical debut seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, so why hasn't their new number seven?
Let's take a look.