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“This is not normal,” says Eden Hazard, citing his most gifted player to date.

"This is not normal," says Eden Hazard, citing his most gifted player to date.

The most gifted player Eden Hazard, a former winger for Chelsea and Real Madrid, has identified himself, and it’s not a name that anyone would have predicted.

At the age of 32, Hazard declared his retirement from Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Lille in October of last year. He also made 126 appearances for his native Belgium.

Hazard won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, two Europa League trophies, five domestic cups, and five league titles during his career. In addition to a slew of individual awards, he placed third with Belgium at the 2018 World Cup.

Hazard was a part of excellent teams and had the opportunity to play for a number of outstanding coaches, including Antonio Conte, Carlo Ancelotti, Zinedine Zidane, and Jose Mourinho.

Hazard and Cristiano Ronaldo did not work together at Real Madrid, but the Belgian still shared a pitch with some of the game’s biggest names. He shared the field with players like Luka Modric, Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante, Frank Lampard, Kevin De Bruyne, Casemiro, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, and Vinicius Jr.

He did, however, face Lionel Messi four times for Chelsea and the Red Devils, and Ronaldo once for Belgium during the 2020 Euros. But he did face off against a rogue shout who was the most gifted player he had ever shared a pitch with.

On the Obi One podcast, Hazard stated, “I played with the best players in the world in Real Madrid.” The former teammate was John Obi Mikel.

“[Karim] Benzema and [Luka] Modric are at the top of my list,” Juan Mata was, in my opinion, the player at the top of the list, but Kevin De Bruyne and [Frank] Lampard are also at the top of the list.

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John is familiar with the player, so I’ll just give you one name. The only person in France about whom I could not stop saying “wow” was Gael Kakuta.

“You inquired about my talent. Kakuta is by far the best. Ability. I mean, aptitude. Whoa.

Although Kakuta and Hazard spent three seasons together at Chelsea, the DR Congo midfielder was on loan at Vitesse, Lazio, and finally Rayo Vallecano during that period. Due to allegations that he was tapped up while at Lens, Kakuta’s 2009 transfer to Chelsea resulted in a two-window transfer ban for the team.

After breaking his contract, Kakuta was also supposed to receive a four-month suspension from playing, but both punishments were revoked when the Court of Arbitration for Sport decided that Kakuta and Lens’s contract was void.

In his six years at Chelsea, Kakuta made sixteen appearances for the first team and also made appearances for the youth team. But Hazard’s best memory of Kakuta is playing youth football against each other at Lens. They did, however, cross paths once in Ligue 1, and that was while Kakuta was on loan from Chelsea to Dijon.

You know, I used to play in Lille and he was playing in Lens, so I played against him a lot. It’s a derby, you know, in the north of France,” Hazard recollected.

Thus, me being who I am. We used to win five out of six games. Every game, I am the best player. And then we are losing the game each time we play against him. The best player is him.This isn’t how things usually work. Though it’s easy to say now, I believe he moved to Chelsea a little too soon.

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You know, he was sixteen when he moved to Chelsea from France. And that’s a big step at sixteen.

In 2015, Kakuta moved from Chelsea to Sevilla, where he played for a year before embarking on a sort of tour. After spending two years playing in China, he took a loan back to Spain and France before relocating permanently to Rayo Vallecano. Kakuta has spent the last five years of his career alternating between Lens and Amiens. Currently, he plays for the former in Ligue 2.

After rising through the French youth ranks, the 32-year-old also changed international allegiance in 2017, playing for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Four of his 24 career DR Congo appearances came at the most recent Africa Cup of Nations.

 

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