Premier League's most creative player, best dribbler - why Real Madrid want to replace Bale with Hazard

Real Madrid announced the arrival of Chelsea forward Eden Hazard on Friday to bring an end to the long-running transfer saga - and potentially spell the end of Gareth Bale's time at the club.

Los Blancos have handed over a reported initial fee of €100million for the 28-year-old, who outlined his intention to leave the London club after scoring a brace in the Europa League final win over Arsenal.

The Belgium international joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012 and swiftly adapted, before becoming undoubtedly one of the English top-flight’s best players.

Hazard will be remembered as one of the club's true icons alongside John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, such is the impact he has had in his seven years.

And his arrival at the Bernabeu could push Bale further down the pecking order, with the Welshman seemingly out of the picture under Zinedine Zidane.

Bale made just 21 league starts in 2018-19, though his agent has indicated the player is happy to stick around in the Spanish capital for the remainder of his contract.

Madrid will seemingly be getting an upgrade in Hazard, though, as the following Opta data shows...

BEST OF THE BLUES

191 – Across his 352 appearances for Chelsea, Hazard scored 110 times and provided 81 assists for a combined 191 goal involvements.

21 – The 2018-19 season was his best in terms of goals for Chelsea, netting 21 times across all competitions.

19 – Hazard's best campaign for assists was 2012-13, when he created 19 goals. In his last Chelsea season he laid on 17, with 15 coming in the Premier League to make him the most creative player across Europe's top five leagues.

 

85 – A haul of 85 Premier League goals makes Hazard Chelsea's third all-time leading scorer in the division, behind only Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

595 – Since moving to the Premier League, Hazard has created more chances than anyone else. David Silva is second to him with 566.

102 – In 2018-19, Hazard averaged a goal or assist every 102 minutes, making it easily his most productive campaign at the club, improving on his record of a goal involvement every 128.6 minutes from the previous season.

 

 

MORE PRODUCTIVE THAN BALE

11 - Hazard has managed 55 goals over the past three seasons, in comparison to 44 for Bale in all competitions over the same period.

248 - His tally of 371 chances created since the start of 2016-17 is 248 more than Bale has managed.

598 - The Belgian completed 598 dribbles over that same three-season timeframe - 484 more than Bale (114).

824 - The big-money signing from Chelsea is also more involved in the game high up the pitch, touching the ball 824 times in the opposition box in the last three seasons, compared to Bale's 454 touches.

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