The Battle of the Belgians: Eden Hazard vs. Kevin De Bruyne

The battle of the Belgians has been hotting up on Twitter in recent weeks with some members of the football twitter community claiming that KDB is better than Eden Hazard and others saying the latter is better than his fellow countryman. In this article, I’ll look to compare them, looking at their goals, assists + other stats, their performances for the Belgian NT, the influence Mourinho had on both players, and finally my opinion on the matter.


Mourinho’s Influence

Both Belgians played under Jose Mourinho when he was reappointed by Chelsea in the summer of 2013, and while Kevin De Bruyne started games against Hull and Manchester United in Mourinho’s first two games back at Chelsea, the Belgian playmaker quickly fell out of favor with Mourinho because of his attitude and reluctance to put his body on the line (metaphorically speaking) for the benefit of the team. Because of his failure to adapt to this, Jose sold him to Wolfsburg for £18m, and we all know what happened after this. Similarly, Hazard faced the same questions about his work rate as KDB, and for a while Mourinho even benched Hazard because of his poor defensive work. Mourinho’s more pragmatic approach often requires the flair players to sacrifice themselves for the team, especially in big games, which Hazard wasn’t used to. However, the Belgian eventually was able to adjust and only a season later, Hazard produced one of the best seasons in English Football under the Portuguese tactician leading Chelsea to the title. Ultimately, Mourinho’s influence probably helped Hazard become a more complete player, while KDB wasn’t cut out for his management style, so he had to blossom elsewhere.

 

Performances for Belgium

Both of these attackers are two of the first names on the Belgium team sheet but Eden’s level internationally is on a whole other level to KDB. He performed pretty well in the 2014 World Cup, but it was in the 2016 Euro where he really shined, as he had the most assists and picked up 2 MOTM awards. De Bruyne, on the other hand, failed to excel in either tournament. Eden has consistently performed for Belgium despite two very mediocre managers and a very disorganized overall system while KDB continues to struggle. In fact, he recently called out Roberto Martinez’s tactics instead of focusing on his game.

Hazard

My Verdict

They are both undoubtedly world class players, but in my opinion Eden Hazard is the better player. He’s shown he can adapt his game to different managers, players and systems like he’s illustrated for Belgium and for Chelsea, and crucially Hazard has displayed his brilliance in big moments as he’s led Chelsea to two title winning campaigns. De Bruyne, on the other hand, is yet to show that as he only has one trophy for City to date. De Bruyne may prove that he has this quality this season, however, as he has been in incredibly good form and Manchester City are looking likely to win the title. But, while KDB is an extraordinary player and has probably been the best player since the start of this season, I still think that because of the reasons I’ve mentioned, Eden Hazard is the better player.


And here you can also look at their stats from the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 seasons…

The Stats

2015/2016

Goals:

Eden = 4, De Bruyne = 7

Assists:

Eden =3, De Bruyne = 9

Key passes:

Eden =63, De Bruyne =72

Successful passes:

Eden =1204, De Bruyne =875

Chances created:

Eden =66, De Bruyne =81

Successful take ons:

Eden =89, De Bruyne =36

2016/2017

Goals scored:

Eden =16, De Bruyne =6

Assists:

Eden =5, De Bruyne =18

Key passes:

Eden =84, De Bruyne =83

Successful passes:

Eden =1455, De Bruyne=1449

Chances created:

Eden =89, De Bruyne=101

Successful take ons:

Eden =146, De Bruyne =54


Written by @Eden10EN