It’s been written in the stars. Chelsea will be facing Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final. The Los Blancos vs the Blues. Karim Benzema vs Kai Havertz. Jorginho vs Luca Modric. Vinicius Jr vs Chrstian Pulisic?
The battle of the Eden Hazard replacements, it seems. That’s where the interest piques for me. Vinicius Jr has been sensational this season. It hasn’t taken much to replace Hazard’s position in the Real Madrid ranks due to his injuries, but he has superseded expectations.
Christian Pulsic, to a proposed heir to the throne, hasn’t quite lived up the Hazard name but has definitely given us glimpses of brilliance in the most important moments.
Thomas Tuchel may be a tactical genius, but Carlo Ancelotti is a Chelsea fan favourite for a reason. His ability to adapt quickly to any situation is an aspect for Chelsea to look forward to. It is not the easiest draw to take on, but we beat them once; I’m sure we can do it again. However, I expect there to be more trouble coming from their left flank.
Last season, Vinicius Jr was accused of playing against his team by Karim Benzema. It was quite a funny tale, but Vini’s perception changed from that point. It’s like he’s turned on super Saiyan mode. With 17 goals and 14 assists so far this season, he has put Hazard’s hope of a swift return to a halt. Hazard has been hit with injuries and is now struggling for some game time. It’s unfortunate how his trajectory has changed since the move to Spain.
Pulisic, once hailed as Hazard’s replacement back in 2019, has shown great promise in a Chelsea shirt. He got the better of Real Madrid during their trip to the Bernabeu last season.
A typical Hazard type dance into the box, he had defenders slipping and sliding before slotting the ball past Thibault Courtois. It was a majestic finish in the end. The American only has six goals and four assists in 27 games. Nothing glitz and glamour about those statistics. However, he has provided big game moments throughout his Chelsea career.
Whilst Pulisic and Vinicius Jr have impressed, Hazard has become a shadow of his former self. It’s an end of an Era. The Hazard that we once loved and adored has seen better days. Both of his replacements have lit up the Bernabeu, obviously one more than the other. I’m interested in seeing which replacement has the upper hand. It’ll be an exciting quarter-final to watch.
I will have my popcorn ready for the battles. The American and the Brazilian go head to head for the perfect Hazard replacement.