Football

Arsene Wenger: Eden Hazard is like an overweight race horse

Arsene Wenger has compared Eden Hazard to an overweight horse, as the former Arsenal manager attempted to explain the forward's poor form since his move to Real Madrid.

The former Chelsea star moved to the Bernabeu in the summer for an initial £88.5 million (S$154m), but has managed only one goal and two assists in 10 appearances for Los Blancos.

Even in yesterday morning's (Singapore time) 6-0 drubbing of Galatasaray in a Champions League Group A encounter, Hazard was a mere passenger as Rodrygo, the less heralded summer arrival, upstaged the Belgian by scoring a hat-trick.

When asked if Hazard was struggling because of the pressure on players at Real, Wenger insisted the problem is not psychological but physical.

Speaking as a pundit on beIN Sports, Wenger said: "He is not the type of guy to be (overawed at Real Madrid), but I don't know him well enough to assess that.

"It was more down to physical reasons. He became too heavy. If you want to make a horse lose a race, you put two kilos on a horse of 500kg and it's enough.

"I feel we have not seen the Hazard we know in England yet," added the 70-year-old, who also admitted to being interested in the managerial vacancy at Bayern Munich.

"He was not physically fit after he was injured. He is not a player who is usually impressed by anything.

"But he looks to me that he doesn't have the same confidence he had at Chelsea."

One player not short on confidence is 18-year-old Rodrygo, who hit a perfect hat-trick, while adding an assist against the Turkish side yesterday.

The Brazilian, who joined Real from Santos in June, had his double after just six minutes and 14 seconds - the fastest in Champions League history - before teeing up Karim Benzema to make it four, after Sergio Ramos had chipped in a penalty.

Benzema then added a fifth late in the second half, leaving Rodrygo to complete his treble in injury-time.

"He doesn't surprise me," said Real coach Zinedine Zidane.

"He has a bit of everything. He is intelligent, he learns very fast, and wants to learn and improve. Physically, he has to get better but, technically, he knows how to do everything with the ball."

After scoring the fastest league goal by a Real debutant in September - a sumptuous control and finish after 94 seconds - he now has his name etched into the European record books too.

Benzema made his own piece of history by equalling and then surpassing club legend Alfredo di Stefano's 49 European Cup goals.

Football