DEMBA BA believes Eden Hazard must “just have fun” for Real Madrid to get the best out of the struggling star.
The luckless Los Blancos forward, 31, has endured a tough time since his £88million transfer to the Bernabeu in 2019.
Eden Hazard has just six goals for Real Madrid since his £88m transfer in 2019Credit: AP
Hazard was team-mates with Demba Ba for 18 months at ChelseaCredit: Action Images – Reuters
He is on just six goals from 65 appearances – missing plenty of action due to a host of different injuries.
But former Chelsea team-mate Ba reckons he knows what is going wrong – and how to get Hazard back to his devastating best.
Recalling when Rafa Benitez called him into his office to speak with Hazard and motivate him to lead the Blues to the Premier League title, retired Ba said: “I realised I’m speaking with Eden.
“Don’t talk about performance, don’t talk about winning titles, don’t talk about winning games, scoring 100 goals – just tell him, ‘Let’s go and have fun.’
“I swear you will see the best guy ever.
“Unfortunately in today’s football, we take every player as a whole. We believe if we want to win, we have to work hard and make sacrifices.
“Motivation is different depending on who you are.
“Some are self-motivated, it comes from within, for others they need to see a competition in front of them to push.
“Some others, it’s going to be family – that’s the reason they play.
“For Eden, my perception, it’s all about enjoying what he does, if he takes pleasure in what he does.
“I see the guy, no way am I going to tell him, ‘You can win us the title.’
“I just said, ‘Eden, you go and have fun.'”
Ba and Hazard at Chelsea together for 18 months from January 2013.
In that time, the Blues won the Europa League before Ba left for Besiktas in the summer of 2014 after 14 goals in 51 appearances.
Hazard won a further five major trophies including two Premier League titles and another Europa League – as well as the PFA Player of the Year award in 2014-15.
In 2019, the 116-cap Belgium international finally made the long-awaited switch to the Bernabeu where he has secured two LaLiga crowns.
Ba added to The Byline on Chelsea’s ninth-highest goalscorer: “Eden loves the game, he really genuinely loves the game.
“It’s a difficult situation but Eden is an artist.
“The day the painter doesn’t have that thrill anymore, is he going to do some great work? I’m not sure.
Eden performs when he has fun
“I believe Eden is someone who performs because he is having fun.
“Some people don’t need to have fun to perform, their motivation is completely different.
“Eden performs when he has fun.
“If he doesn’t have fun, I’m not sure he will be able to perform well.
“Tomorrow if he found that thrill and joy again of playing football, the joy he had when he was ten or 11, it doesn’t matter where he is he will perform – whether in Madrid or back in Chelsea, anywhere.
“I am 100 per cent sure if someone is able to give him that joy or he takes the responsibility and finds that joy himself, he will be performing like he used to.
“He is 32 years old [sic], the 30s of today is the 20s of yesterday.”