Hazard raises new «Galacticos» expectations at Real Madrid


Real Madrid fans queue outside Santiago Bernabeu stadium to attend the presentation of the team's new soccer player Belgian Eden Hazard in Madrid, Spain, June 13, 2019. EPA-EFE/Rodrigo Jiménez

MADRID.- Eden Hazard has been officially presented as Real Madrid’s newest player at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Thursday.

The Belgium superstar was unveiled in the VIP box at the grounds in Madrid following a trouble-free medical check-up.

His arrival at Real Madrid attracted a large number of fans who dream of another «Galacticos» team, as well as media from around the world to receive the 28-year-old international.

After being elected the Real Madrid president in July 2000, Florentino Perez started to sign several superstar players, establishing the first «Galacticos» team that included, France playmaker Zinedine Zidane (the current team’s coach), Brazil striker Ronaldo, Portugal winger Luis Figo, England midfielder David Beckham and Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro, among others, who played for the club until the summer of 2005.

A little more than an hour before the presentation event started, Madrid fans formed a huge queue at the gates of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, as thousands of the La Liga side’s supporters entered the club’s home-ground.

There has not been this much anticipation for the presentation of a Real Madrid player since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo or Ricardo Kaka, who almost a decade ago, attracted thousands of fans to their respective presentations.

Being Madrid’s fourth summer signing ahead of the upcoming season, Hazard is the player who fans seem to have set their hearts on.

A large number of media crowded in front of the gate to attend and cover the presentation.

Hazard is set to step out on the club’s home-pitch for the first time, wearing the famed Merengue jersey, before talking to the media at a press conference.

On June 7, Madrid announced the signing from Premier League side Chelsea, for a reported 100 million euros ($113 million).

The attacking midfielder scored 110 goals in 352 appearances for the English club, including a brace in a 4-1 victory over Arsenal in the May 29 Europa League final.

Hazard was the captain of the Belgium team that finished third in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and received the Silver Ball as the second-best player in the tournament.

Late Wednesday, Madrid announced the acquisition of France left-back, Ferland Mendy, from Ligue 1 side Lyon, who signed a six-year contract.

Olympique Lyonnais said on its website that Mendy had been transferred to Madrid for 48 million euros ($54.2 million) including possible additional incentives totaling up to 5 million euros.

Mendy, who became Madrid’s fifth summer deal, will be presented on June 19 in the VIP box at the Bernabeu, according to Madrid’s online statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Spanish side presented Luka Jovic, in a ceremony in which the club’s president, Florentino Perez, hailed the 21-year-old Serbian international striker as «one of the greatest goal scorers in Europe.»

«But our fans are going to ask you for a lot more because they know everything you can offer with your great quality,» Perez told Jovic at the ceremony.

«So you have before you the greatest challenge of your career.»

Madrid also has added Brazilian central defender Eder Militao (acquired from Portuguese side Porto) as part of its summer shopping spree.

Brazil’s Rodrygo Goes is also set to join the club over the summer in a deal reached a year ago with the Brazilian club Santos.

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