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Eden Hazard was the star of the Chelsea team for many seasons, and has been hailed as one of the best players the club has ever had.
But after seven years at Stamford Bridge, Hazard chose to go for a new challenge in Spain as he moved to Real Madrid, signing a five-year contract with the Spanish giants.
The sale of Hazard left a vacuum in the Chelsea team, and the Blues don’t have the opportunity to sign a replacement for the departed star after being hit with a transfer ban. But thankfully, Chelsea secured the signing of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund in the January transfer window before the club was hit with the ban.
The big question ahead of next season is: How will Chelsea survive without Hazard?
There have been talks whether Pulisic can adequately fill in the shoes of Hazard, but the 20-year-old American silenced critics as he showed off the playmaking qualities the Blues will need next season.
In their 6-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago, Pulisic was everything you’d need in a forward – skills, pace, goals and assist, he had it all.
Trinidad and Tobago coach Dennis Lawrence was in awe of Pulisic’s display and hailed the 20-year-old that he’s worth the massive fee Chelsea paid for him.
“That’s why Chelsea paid $60 million for him,” Trinidad and Tobago coach Dennis Lawrence said.
“Because we kept him quiet for 65 minutes and then he found a way.”
US team coach Gregg Berhalter has hailed Pulisic and revealed that the young playmaker has what it takes to influence games.
“What we’re doing is trying to put him in position where he can do exactly that,” Berhalter said.
“The structure around him accommodates him being flexible and he can go wide, he can come inside. He can create space for himself. We can use the striker to get him the ball, bouncing it back to him.
“That’s what we’re trying to do, and the reason we’re trying to do that is because he has these game-changing abilities and you saw that tonight,” Berhalter said.
“Very fluid with his movement, dynamic, able to take players on, good ball security. And today was great because the final product was there also, which is always important for attacking players.”
If we throw back to 2012, when Chelsea signed Hazard, the Belgian was very exciting but he wasn’t yet the finished product. Pace, skill, trickery, creativity – Hazard had it all, and he got better with each year.
In Pulisic, Chelsea have also signed that kind of quality. He’s just as exciting as Hazard, and even though he isn’t yet the complete article, he isn’t far off either.