Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has hit out at criticism of Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard over his weight, labeling this view as ‘lazy’.
Hazard, 31, is considered to be an underwhelming signing for Real Madrid despite lifting six trophies in the famous white jersey. Since arriving from Chelsea for €115 million in the summer of 2019, he has netted just seven times and contributed 11 assists in 72 overall appearances.
A technical dribbler blessed with flair and directness, the Belgian has struggled to maintain consistency at Santiago Bernabeu due to a host of recurring injuries. He has also often been criticized for failing to get himself into shape. As per El Nacional, this has led to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez losing faith in the Belgian.
Eden Hazard on his moment at Real Madrid: “It’s a delicate situation as I want to play more. I feel good at Real Madrid, yes — but I know what I can do when I play”. #RealMadrid
“There’ve been difficult times when I want to play and… I don’t play”, quotes via @marca.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Martinez shared his thoughts on the criticism Hazard has faced due to reports of him being overweight. He said:
“Eden Hazard can have bad games and can have moments when he’s not at his best. People say it’s because of his body shape or he’s carrying too much body fat. Well, he’s carrying the same body fat when he makes a difference. You need to understand that it’s a player based on his talent and not a player based on the physicality he brings to the game.”
Martinez described such remarks as ‘irrelevant’ and ‘lazy’. He added:
“He’s got his strengths in taking people on in this one-vs-one action. If he doesn’t play well then the easy comment, the lazy comment, is that he’s not as thin or athletic as he should be. I think that’s an irrelevant comment and I see it as a lazy comment. Eden can have good games and bad games, but he always has the same body shape.”
Hazard has scored just one goal and laid out an assist in six matches across all competitions for Real Madrid in the ongoing 2022-23 season.
🏋️♂️ Rise and SHINE, #Madridistas! 🏋️♂️
Roberto Martinez heaps huge praise on Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard
Speaking to talkSPORT, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez lauded Hazard for his contributions both on and off the pitch. He elaborated:
“He’s so talented. He was born to play football. I think he’s one of those people who you see straight away that it’s not a job, it’s not a chore or something he has to break a sweat to make a difference. He has this natural talent. Then he has this wonderful human quality, he lights up the room when he walks in.”
Martinez labeled the former Lille man as a ‘silent leader’. He added:
“Everyone likes his company, he’s always got the right comment for young players. He enjoys high-pressure situations. When you’ve got a player like that, he asks for the ball and takes responsibility. He’s one of those silent leaders you enjoy working with as they are so exceptional at what they are but so normal in having that talent.”
Hazard is set to feature for Belgium in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which is scheduled to begin on 20 November. Belgium have been drawn in Group F alongside Croatia, Canada and Morocco.
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