Eden Hazard - Club Career - Lille - 2010–11 Season

2010–11 Season

Hazard began the 2010–11 campaign as a starter featuring in Lille's first six league matches of the season, as well as matches in the UEFA Europa League. On 29 August 2010, he scored his first goal of the season in a 1–1 draw with Nice. In late September, Hazard began to struggle with inconsistency and was benched by Garcia in an effort to "allow him (Hazard) to breathe and learn that his performances were insufficient". Hazard, subsequently, appeared as a substitute in the team's 2–1 defeat to Portuguese club Sporting in the Europa League and as a substitute in the next three league matches against Toulouse, Montpellier, and Lyon. Hazard later admitted that his first bout of inconsistency affected him stating "The first two months were a bit tough. I wouldn’t say that I began doubting my abilities, but I definitely went through a really patchy spell".

On 7 October, Belgium national team manager Georges Leekens, citing Hazard's recent spell on the bench at Lille, said that the player needed to work harder, both physically and mentally, to regain his past year's form. The team's assistant coach, Marc Wilmots, also stated that Hazard often displayed a lazy mentality while training with the national team. Garcia responded to Leekens comments the following day stating that he thought they were "excessive" and that "Eden is only 19 years old" and can still "make more progress in all areas." Following Belgium's match against Kazakhstan, in which Hazard failed to start or even appear on the substitute's bench, Leekens responded to Garcia's comments declaring that he would stand by his previous comments and that players must think about the team and not themselves. Hazard, himself, later reflected on Leekens and Garcia comments in February 2011 stating "I learned a lot during those few weeks, mentally speaking. And since then things have got better. The national side has had a fair bit to do with that – I get a lot out of being a part of it".

Following the international break, Hazard recaptured his scoring form netting the final goal in Lille's 4–1 victory over Caen in the Coupe de la Ligue on 27 October. Ten days later, he scored his second league goal of the season in a 3–1 win against the league table leaders Brest. On 21 November, Hazard assisted on both Lille's goals in a 2–1 win over Monaco. The victory continued the club's domestic unbeaten streak, which led to Lille topping the league table following an emphatic 6–3 victory against Lorient on 5 December. At the turn of the calendar year, Hazard scored in the team's first match against amateur club Forbach in the Coupe de France. Lille won the match 3–1. In the team's following match, he assisted on goals scored by Moussa Sow and Gervinho in a 2–0 league victory over Nice. On 19 January, Hazard scored the second goal in a 3–0 victory over Nancy. On 4 March, Lille officials confirmed that Hazard had added an extra year to his contract. The new deal tied him to the club until 2015 and also made him the highest paid player in Ligue 1 beginning with the 2011–12 season. In his first match after the news, Hazard scored the opening goal in Lille's 2–1 away win over title rivals Marseille. The goal was scored on a left-footed shot from almost 35 metres (38 yd) out and was clocked at 95 km/h (59 mph).

On 2 April, Hazard capped his 100th league appearance with Lille by scoring the second goal in a 3–1 win over Caen. The goal tied his career-high for goals in a season and also moved Lille eight points clear at the top of the league table. For his performances in the month of March, Hazard was named the UNFP Player of the Month for the second time in his career. On 19 April, after appearing as a first half substitute, he scored the opening goal in Lille's 2–0 Coupe de France semi-final victory over Nice. The victory inserted the club into the 2011 Coupe de France Final; the club's first appearance in the competition's final since 1955. On 7 May, Hazard converted a game-winning free-kick goal in the team's 1–0 win over Nancy. Three days later, he was nominated for the UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season. In the Coupe de France final, Hazard played 89 minutes as Lille defeated Paris Saint-Germain 1–0 at the Stade de France. A week later, Lille clinched the Ligue 1 title by drawing 2–2 away to Paris Saint-Germain, achieving the club's first league championship since the 1953–54 season and the club's first double since the 1945–46 season. The domestic cup and league title were the first two honours in Hazard's career. On the day after Lille won the league, Hazard was named the UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Year becoming the youngest player ever to win the award. He was also rewarded with a place in the organization's Team of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Read more about this topic:  Eden Hazard, Club Career, Lille

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