Former Lille midfielder Eden Hazard is looking forward to returning to the city for Belgium’s Euro 2016 quarter-final with Wales.
The Belgian starred in his country’s 4-0 demolition of Hungary on Sunday evening – scoring one goal himself and tormenting the opposition with a succession of mazy dribbles. He was duly named man of the match for what is surely the best individual performance of the competition so far.
The captain of his country, Hazard has risen to the challenge of leading his nation through the competition, though Belgium will find Gareth Bale and Wales a tough obstacle to overcome.
Seen as one of the perennial underachievers of the European game, Belgium, with their current “golden generation”, are under as much pressure as they have ever been to make a mark on an international tournament.
Being the first team through to the quarter-finals – and in such devastating style – at the weekend has certainly earmarked them as one of the favourites for the competition, especially if Hazard is able to maintain such sparking form.
Hazard himself, however, remains grounded: ‘For the time being we have achieved nothing, we are just in the quarters and we will take it one game at a time’, he explained in an interview with the official Chelsea website.
There will be a feeling of home comfort for Hazard as he takes to the stage in his former stomping ground, with Lille’s state-of-the-art Stade Pierre-Mauroy hosting his side’s quarter-final.
‘We are lucky enough to play in Lille, I know the city very well’, he continued.
‘I am very proud. I was really motivated to go through, it will be a great celebration on Friday and I hope there will be plenty of fans there to take part’.