Good news Chelsea, bad news Europe - Hazard is back to his brilliant best

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The Belgium captain turned around a bad start to end the season in form for his club and has managed to build on that at Euro 2016 as he prepares to face Hungary


In a Man of the Match performance, Eden Hazard performed brilliantly for Belgium as they beat Sweden 1-0 in Nice, leading his side by example and showing quality in everything he did. 

The 25-year-old bagged an assist as well as recording a 91 per cent pass accuracy through 47 passes which led to five chances, operating wide on the left while occasionally swapping positions with Kevin De Bruyne who was in the centre.

It was Radja Nainggolan who powered home a brilliant 84th-minute winner but many of Belgium's players ran over to celebrate with their assist-making captain who held his arms aloft in Nice’s Allianz Riviera Stadium - with Belgium fans later applauding Hazard off and chanting his name upon his 90th-minute substitution.

His future manager lies at Chelsea under Antonio Conte, who is currently leading an Italy side who have gone into the tougher side of the draw for the knockout stage as Belgium will face Hungary.

Hazard can get expert knowledge from his younger brother, Kylian, who plays in Hungary for Ujpest FC, as he looks to support team-mates such as De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, who have underwhelmed in France so far.

Belgium’s players are some of the most talented in the competition but are lacking in tournament experience despite Belgium emerging as a real contender for the title after producing their first golden generation since Euro ’80 - when they reached the final. 

The Red Devils can use their favourable draw to develop confidence in the later stages of the tournament to compete with the likes of Spain, Germany and France while success could be a further springboard for Hazard at his club.

The former Lille player was described by Guus Hiddink as "quiet but very very determined" and someone who shows a different kind of leadership than his Chelsea skipper John Terry - this is in part why he suffered under the intensity and harshness of Jose Mourinho’s personality. 

A strong Euros can help Hazard draw a line under his bad season at Chelsea which saw him suffer a 29-game goal drought in the Premier League, injury problems and an involvement in the Eva Carniero sexism row.

Hazard is Chelsea’s most valuable player and will be key to any success they have next season. Only a football fan with a short memory will forget his 14 league goals to win his side the Premier League in 2014-15, while it is not easy to forget his stunning strike against Tottenham to deny Chelsea's rivals the title. 

He ended the season well scoring four goals in five games and Belgium manager Marc Wilmots soon bestowed the captaincy on Hazard after Vincent Kompany's injury ruled him out of the tournament.

On the back of his end-of-season form, Euro 2016 could be the second step on his road to Hazard putting himself back in the same discussions as the best players in the world like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - as he was before last season but there is still a lot more work to be done.