Belgium boss Martinez hits back at claims that Hazard is 'too fat'

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez hits back at claims that Eden Hazard is ‘too fat’ and insists those criticisms are ‘LAZY comments’… despite the Real Madrid winger’s well-documented fitness struggles since joining from Chelsea

  • The Belgian national coach jumped to the defence of the Real Madrid winger  
  • Hazard’s fitness issues across the last few seasons have been well documented 
  • But Martinez insists that claims he’s ‘too fat’ are simply just ‘lazy comments’ 
  • The ex-Everton boss said that Hazard is ‘talented’ and ‘was born to play football’  

Belgium national team boss Roberto Martinez has said that jibes at Eden Hazard’s weight are ‘lazy comments’ and insists the winger ‘makes a difference’ no matter his size.

Comments about Hazard’s weight have cropped up due to the winger only playing 72 games across four seasons for Madrid since joining from Chelsea in a deal worth up to £150million in 2019. 

But Martinez jumped to the defence of the Madrid No. 7 – who’s likely to be a key feature of Belgium’s team in the World Cup – and claimed that comments on his physique are ‘irrelevant’.

Eden Hazard has been criticised for his physique multiple times since joining Real Madrid

Belgium national team boss Roberto Martinez jumped to the defence of the Madrid winger

Speaking to TalkSport, Belgium boss Martinez: ‘Eden Hazard can have bad games and can have moments when he’s not at his best. People say it’s because of his body shape or he’s carrying too much body fat.

‘Well he’s carrying the same body fat when he makes a difference. You need to understand that it’s a player based on his talent and not a player based on the physicality he brings to the game.

‘He’s got his strengths in taking people on in this one-vs-one action. If he doesn’t play well then the easy comment, the lazy comment, is that he’s not as thin or athletic as he should be. I think that’s an irrelevant comment.’

In 2019, there were reports that the Belgian winger had turned up to Madrid’s pre-season ‘seven kilos overweight’. Just a year later, similar stories had emerged that the forward arrived to pre-season training heavier than expected. 

The winger’s limited availability has seen him fall out of favour at Madrid and has restricted his game-time to just three appearances in LaLiga this year.

Hazard is Belgium’s fourth most capped player in history – having made 122 appearances

He’s fallen out of favour at Madrid and has made just six appearances for Real Madrid this year

Martinez continued: ‘Eden can have good games and bad games, but he always has the same body shape. He’s so talented. He was born to play football. 

‘I think he’s one of those people who you see straight away that it’s not a job, it’s not a chore or something he has to break sweat to make a difference.

‘He has this natural talent. Then he has this wonderful human quality, he lights up the room when he walks in.’

The 31-year-old winger has been one of Belgium’s best players in recent history and sits fourth in their all-time appearances list – 19 international caps behind former Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen.

He’s also the second top goalscorer in the nation’s history but sits 35 goals behind ex-Chelsea team-mate Romelu Lukaku.

The Belgian winger was in action during his country’s Nations League game against Wales

There had been hopes that Hazard had put his fitness issues behind him at the start of the season, when reports suggested Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti was impressed with the winger’s physique.

According to AS, the former Chelsea winger was well aware that he needed to improve his conditioning over the summer if he wanted to break into the Real first-team this season.

Hazard returned to his home-town of Braine-le-Comte to spend time with family and seek advice from an unnamed personal trainer who works as part of the Belgian national side.

However, his limited cameos in the Madrid team this season indicate that the former Chelsea winger has not done enough to convince his seniors in Spain.

Hazard made 62 appearances in his first year at Chelsea – he’s made 72 in four years at Madrid

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