Player injury is a blow to any manager in association football, but when you can’t play, you just can’t play and it’s too bad for the rest of the team. Or is this really the case? Despite the fact that Eden Hazard has been suffering from a groin injury since January this year, he’s been valiantly struggling on the pitch. He played so badly against PSG on Wednesday that he was booed off and replaced by Oscar 77 minutes into the Champion’s League match. We think that’s pretty unfair, especially since rumour has it that he’s being forced to play before he can even recover.
Incensed by the way fans and the club have been treating his son, his father gave an impassioned interview with Belgian newspaper Le Soir, criticising Chelsea for its pitiless treatment of his ailing son.
“The current displays of Eden have been hindered because of injury, an inflammation of the groin, which has troubled him for three or four months
“It’s not serious, but the pain, when it comes, is throbbing. It’s like a stabbing feeling. It had already happened earlier in the match [against PSG] before he asked to be replaced.
“Instead of giving him the time to rest and recover properly, they made Eden play, mostly because this was a very important match. He has no choice.”
He went on to decry the favourite practice of kicking athletes when they’re low.
“Which player in his career has never had highs and lows? Since the start of his career as a professional, it’s the first time he’s had this kind of problem. He’s not a machine that plays.”
He’s got a point there. Too often, we’re prone to treating the sportsmen we worship as though they should be invulnerable to human error. When they do prove to be fallible beings who get hurt like the rest of us do, it’s almost as though we feel an unreasonable sense of betrayal. We’re quick to vilify those we once treated like gods, slandering them in the press, booing them off the pitch and turning every mishap that befalls them into a cruel jest.
Take Manchester United, for instance. Of course, Devils fans should be far from pleased that their once great team is performing well below par, but is it necessary to scream that they’re “f***ing s***” from the sidelines during one of the most humiliating points of their career? Or should we truly be asking Louis Van Gaal when he’s finally going to be fired during a press conference? We’ve seen how fickle the love of an adoring public really is and are very glad not to be on the receiving end of it. We shudder to think of what would happen if a man like Messi had a public fall from grace.