After having won four out of their five matches at this year’s World Cup, including being among the very few to win all their group games, Belgium exited the semifinals with a commendable performance. With the likes of Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku leading the Belgian attack, the two have been instrumental in guiding their nation to the semifinals for the first time since 1986.
We previously examined Hazard and the Belgian team’s progress on Euro Fantasy League and discussed their prospects on reaching the final. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and they were narrowly edged out 1-0 against France. However, after Belgium’s third place match against England, Hazard will be contemplating his next club move.
His obvious choice will be to Spanish giants Real Madrid. After recently losing Ronaldo to Juventus, Madrid will undoubtedly be looking at a few big names, with Hazard as a favorite, to replace their Portuguese star. The latest news is that Barcelona have also indicated their intention to sign Hazard. A fight between the two Spanish giants over the Belgian could be on the cards. Yet, in an interview about his future with Chelsea, Hazard suggested it will depend on which players Chelsea signs for next season.
The 27-year-old is considering his options carefully, aware that his next contract will probably be one of the last he signs while in his prime. For now, he is a sought-after superstar. His past six years in the English Premier League have been exemplary and he has been an extraordinary presence at Stamford Bridge.
So much so, that in 2016 he was nominated along with Marco Reus, James Rodriguez and Anthony Martial to be the face of the popular FIFA 17 game. EA Sport’s senior producer Nick Channon told the Independent that Hazard, along with the other three superstars, represent exciting, attacking football and expressed his excitement at the prospect of global fans voting on the face which would represent the FIFA franchise globally.
Since the FIFA franchise’s inception in 1994 there has been an influx of soccer games vying to tap into the lucrative gaming market. Digital platform Foxy Bingo is well known for releasing sports themed slots that look to tap into soccer’s global fanbase. Their ‘Striker Goes Wild’ game is designed to target soccer’s online mobile gaming community and fans of the beautiful game. This only goes to show how wide reaching the market is for soccer fans who enjoy the sport on digital platforms; it demonstrates why the announcement of the next FIFA cover star is considered one of the biggest events in sports gaming, and what it says about the star who becomes the latest face of the game.
While Hazard was not chosen for the FIFA 17 cover (Marco Reus was), his popularity has not waned. Still in his prime, he remains a sought-after name with Chelsea officials offering a new contract worth over $400,000 per week, to persuade him to stay. With the World Cup behind him, and the world at his feet, Hazard’s career will reach greater heights no matter where he goes, or doesn’t for that matter.