Eden Hazard’s ongoing injury hell was predicted by Jose Mourinho six years ago when the pair worked together at Chelsea.
The Real Madrid and Belgium star is faced with another four to six weeks on the sidelines with a thigh injury in what is his ninth setback since joining the club in 2019.
Hazard’s injury problems have been described as ‘chronic’ by Belgium’s national team doctor and the £150million winger hasn’t been able to complete a full 90 minutes since November 23, 2019.
And an uncannily accurate prediction made by Mourinho during his second spell as Chelsea manager has now resurfaced.
The Portuguese was making the point that Hazard wasn’t protected enough by referees and was taking some heavy punishment in the Premier League. Mourinho warned it could cut Hazard’s career short.
He said at the time: ‘People [are] in love with football in this country; people must be in love with Eden Hazard.
‘The way, match after match, he’s being punished by opponents and he’s not being protected by referees, maybe one day we don’t have Eden Hazard.
‘It’s one, two, three, four, five, 10 aggressive fouls against him. They kick and kick and kick, and the kid resists.
‘He’s a very honest guy in the way he plays, but that’s another problem.’
Mourinho made the comments after Chelsea had lost 5-3 at Tottenham on New Year’s Day 2015. Mourinho and the Chelsea bench had demanded a red card when Federico Fazio had brought Hazard down when he was in on goal.
Hazard was one of the Premier League’s most fouled players that season but Chelsea went on to win the Premier League title.
He transferred to Real in June 2019 for an initial fee of £88m that could rise to almost £150m with additional fees.
But his time at the Bernabeu has been ruined by injuries with 43 matches missed because of nine different injury absences, compared to 35 appearances made.
This latest problem will likely keep him out of the first leg of Real’s Champions League last-16 tie against Atalanta this month.
Belgian national team doctor Kristof Sas has said the fitness situation is ‘different’ with Hazard, before going on to highlight the main concerns.
He told Belgian publication Nieuwsblad: ‘We are awaiting the details and knowing more, but it is clear that it is worrisome.
‘The injuries at this stage of the season are not worrisome for the Euros, it is even a rest period. But with Eden it is different.
‘It’s another relapse, a chronic situation that always goes wrong in the end . First the ankle, then the muscle injuries. It’s all very unpleasant.
‘Eden is in a vicious circle and it’s not easy to get out of it. It’s disturbing what happens with musculature.
‘A footballer must be able to kick, turn, jump, all at high speed. And, of course, this is more difficult during rehabilitation.
‘He needs pace and continuity. The situation is not dramatic for us yet but he must urgently get out of that dead end.’