At just 19 years of age and having already been recommended to Real Madrid by none other that Zinedine Zidane, the future looks bright for Eden Hazard, Lille’s gifted Belgian midfielder. Since moving to France from his native Belgium in 2005, Hazard has gradually become an integral member of the first team squad at the Stadium Lille-Metropole, initially breaking into the side in 2007 as a 16 year-old.

A player capable of adopting positions both in the centre of the midfield and on the flanks, Hazard has drawn comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo and proved invaluable to Lille as the club has looked to mount a sustained bid for the Ligue 1 title this season – although those hopes look to have faded significantly with a recent defeat to Valenciennes. Often deployed as a left winger by coach Rudi Garcia, the young Belgian has excited French audiences around the country with his pace, finishing abilities and dazzling array of skills, quickly establishing himself as one of European football’s hottest properties. A short but deceptively strong player, Hazard has the potential to develop into a fantastic footballer and possesses more than enough ability to turn the flashes of brilliance he has shown of late into consistent excellence.

With Belgium failing to qualify for this summer’s World Cup, Hazard will be denied the opportunity to test himself against the very best the game has to offer, but such a predicament is unlikely to affect the player’s chances of gaining a move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs. Zinedine Zidane recently advised Real Madrid President Florentino Perez to coax Hazard to the Santiago Bernabeu saying of the player, “I would take Hazard to Madrid with my eyes closed”, praise indeed from the great Frenchman. However, Madrid will not be the only club looking to secure the Belgian’s signature this summer, with Barcelona and Arsenal having also been strongly linked with the Lille youngster.

We should be hearing a lot more of Eden Hazard in the coming months.