Chelsea’s Hazard feeling ‘wear and tear’ of frequent fouling

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The best, most skillful players are always the ones who suffer the greatest physical harm by way of constantly being fouled, so it’s little wonder Eden Hazard admits to “feeling the wear and tear” as he approaches his 28th birthday.

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Hazard ranks second among the most frequently fouled players in the Premier League — behind only Wilfried Zaha, who has played more minutes — over the past two-plus seasons (since 2016-17). First Zaha, and now Hazard, have made public pleas for referees to better protect players from frequent, hard fouling, even in the game’s opening seconds or minutes — quotes from the Guardian:

“For me that would be better. For the referee, though, it can be hard to show a yellow card in the first minute. Everywhere it is the same for me.”

“I’m 27 now and starting to get older, so I have to take more care of my body. I am feeling the wear and tear. I have been playing football as a professional for more than 10 years now. It is part of the game, I guess. I am not happy but it’s part of football. The referee tries to do his job and I try to do mine. I guess when I am on the floor I can win free kicks, so every free kick with Chelsea is a chance to score more goals.”

To Hazard’s point, he has missed plenty of time over the years due to various mildly serious injuries. Fortunately for the Belgian superstar, he’s managed to avoid the kind of serious, career-threatening injury that might otherwise rob the world of his brilliant play-making and goal-scoring talent.