Eden Hazard: Rise to the top

What does it take to turn potential into stardust? Chelsea’s brilliant Belgian fills FFT in on his six checkpoints to superstardom

Never be satisfied

“As a player I am always demanding more from myself. I don’t just want to win the Champions League; I want to win the Premier League and the FA Cup. I want to win everything. That’s what drives me to get better. Last season I scored 14 goals in the Premier League – that’s not enough. I must score more this season. I got this ambition from my parents. If you want to be a top player, you can never be satisfied. You must always want more.”

You can always chase more success

More after the break

Respect your opponent

“The Premier League has taught me that any team can beat you; even when you play against the smaller teams, they are able to raise their performance to cause an upset. When you play for a big team, everyone wants to beat you. The top players are able to perform week in, week out, no matter who they’re playing. You need to have a competitive mentality and make sure you’re approaching every game with the right attitude.”

Don’t allow complacency to kick in

Assess your performance

“After the game I always know if I played well or if I played badly. As a footballer you have to reflect on your performance, but it’s important that you’re honest with yourself. Whether you’ve had a good game or not, you should always aim to do better in the next match. You cannot say, ‘I was very good; I want to be play like that again.’ Not possible – you must always want more. However I’ve played, once the game is over I focus on the next challenge.”

Be honest with yourself post-match

Listen to the manager

“It’s important to listen to the manager’s tactical instructions, especially when you play in midfield, where you have a responsibility to attack and defend. The best way to defend is by keeping the ball. If you have the ball, your opponent can’t score. When you have the ball, don’t try to force the play – wait for the right moment to try and score. When you don’t have the ball, press the opponent and force them into making mistakes.”

Digest the gaffer’s instructions

Always think of the team

“There are times when you have to adapt your natural game to help the team. As an attacking player, playing for a top team, I have learned that I have to support the defence and not just the attack. It can be difficult because you may want to help the team by creating a chance or scoring a goal, but you have to do what the game demands. Sometimes you have to help the team in a different way. You won’t always get it right, but you will learn with experience.”

Learn to make sacrifices for others

Play for the love of it

“When I was a kid I used to get home from school and go straight into my garden to practise my skills. I also learned a lot from watching Ronaldinho and Robinho on YouTube. Football is a tactical game and you have to be professional on the pitch, but keep smiling and enjoy it. I play for the fans. I love to entertain them. I like to run at defenders and cut inside or beat them on the outside. It’s important to keep the defenders guessing.” 

Stay professional, but keep smiling

Eden Hazard wears the Elastico Superfly, available at nike.com

For more football tips see:
Raheem Sterling: Run your marker ragged
Mario Gotze: Be a creative spark
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Make something happen
Gareth Bale: Terrorise the defence
Lucas Moura: Dribble the Brazilian way
Accelerate and beat your man like Messi
Angel di Maria on the art of wing play
Andres Iniesta: How to boss the midfield

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