Real fans are not known for their forgiving nature, with Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale among the superstars who have been booed by their own supporters. Meanwhile, legend Iker Casillas was ultimately treated poorly by the club despite giving 25 years to Real.
Hazard has claimed that losing a game at Chelsea was ‘disappointing’, sure, but was never seen as a ‘disaster’, and he is already well aware that things are not so in the Spanish capital.
The 28-year-old, who missed the first three games of the season following his €100m – potentially rising to €145m – move from Chelsea, is yet to find out the consequences of losing. His sole appearance so far came as a substitute in a 3-2 win over Levante over the weekend.
And yet he knows that defeat is not an option if he wants to stay on the right side of a fan group that has intense expectations beyond that of any other club in the world.
“At Chelsea when we lost, we were disappointed, like the fans, but I never felt it was a disaster, it’s different in Spain,” Hazard has revealed in an official Champions League interview.
“I think that here the fans are really fans, football is everything to them and they need players to give everything, in England there aren’t so many fans.
“Of course, people there like football and everyone, be that young people, adults or teenagers, is really interested in football, but they aren’t so fanatical about their teams.”
His comments may come across as disrespectful towards Chelsea fans, and in England in general, but the Belgian is just trying to express the circumstances he now finds himself in.
Rarely has a club in England been used to winning over an extended period. Teams rise to the top and fall away at regular intervals and things have long been much more competitive.
In Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona have dominated La Liga since its inception 90 years ago, winning 59 titles between them – Real alone have won 33. Only once since 1951 has neither club finished in the top three, while just four titles so far this century were won by other sides.
It is only natural that fan expectations should be higher than in a country like England where 24 different clubs have been crowned champions, as opposed to just nine in Spain.
Hazard may yet find about just how ‘fanatical’ supporters in Spain can get when things don’t go to plan.