John Obi Mikel has spoken in a podcast about a phone call he made with Eden Hazard. The two know each other from Chelsea and Mikel once made a remarkable statement about the Belgian football icon.
“I didn’t know how important training was for Chelsea players until I came to play for Chelsea,” said the Nigerian, who made 372 appearances for the club and retired in 2022, earlier this year. “The way they played during matches was like in training. Flying tackles, fights… There was often boxing because everyone wanted to make the starting eleven at the weekend. There was no room for: Oh, I don’t feel like training today. The only player who thought that and got away with it was Eden Hazard. He really never trained! He’s the laziest football player I’ve ever seen in my life. But at the weekend he was always there, then he was the Man of the Match. The night before a match, he sat and ate rice porridge for 20 minutes. But then he would go to sleep, wake up in the morning and produce in the afternoon.”
Mikel recently repeated that story again, after which he got Hazard on the phone. “At first he didn’t pick it up, but then he did. He said: You, you, you tell quite a few things about me! (laughter). I told him I wanted to let him know how good he was. That he had achieved everything without putting in any effort. Imagine if he had made that effort. He didn’t even tie his shoes during training. He just always stood there with his hands in his pockets. And when they came and said something about it, he sent them walking. Trainer, teammates…”
Strangely enough, Hazard tried to train hard at Real Madrid, according to Mikel. “He told me: You know, it’s not that I didn’t want to train. When I arrived at Madrid I looked at myself in the mirror and thought yes, I’m going to make an effort. But then I started getting injured. My body couldn’t handle it. That’s why I stopped doing it. He also said that there were two proposals from Saudi Arabia, but now he actually has a lot of money because of his frugal lifestyle: Should I go there for a million a week? But what then? According to Eden, he honestly has enough money to live his life with his family, that’s why he didn’t go.”