Real Madrid's defeat against Paris Saint-Germain just under two weeks ago was very bad news for everyone at the club, but no one more so than Eden Hazard.
It was enough failing to make any impact in the Parc des Princes on his big Champions League debut for Real Madrid but worse was to come.
As the spotlight shined on Zinedine Zidane and the shadow of Jose Mourinho loomed large something big changed on the French coach's tactics board – defence became king.
Real Madrid's defeat against Paris Saint Germain was very bad news for Eden Hazard
- Zero shots
- 78 per cent pass success
- One successful dribble
- Lost the ball 17 times
On Monday morning in Spain, and after the Madrid derby ended in a 0-0 draw that sees Zidane's side stay top of La Liga, Diario AS even opted for a headline suggesting Real Madrid's coach had morphed into Diego Simeone.
'It's not just about greater intensity it's about greater solidity,' said Zidane on Saturday night proud of the way his team now close the space out between the lines and drop back into something approaching a 4-5-1 when they lose the ball. They have not conceded in three games since the Paris debacle.
All this means that any dreams Hazard had of floating around Karim Benzema waiting for the clever flicks into space, all without a great deal of defensive responsibility are gone.
He is being played wide of a front three in a 4-3-3 but there are major defensive responsibilities. He had to track Kieran Trippier on Saturday in the Metropolitano and a week before that it fell to him to follow the forward forays of Jesus Navas as he attacked from full back.
Hazard had to track Kieran Trippier on Saturday in his side's 0-0 draw at the Metropolitano
Any dreams Hazard had of floating around Karim Benzema, waiting for clever flicks, are gone
Madrid-based newspapers Marca and AS both carried Hazard on their front cover on Monday
Gareth Bale seems to be coping with the new demands – defending well without losing his attacking spark. 'He was especially good in terms of what he did for the team. He worked hard in defence and we benefited from that,' said Zidane of Bale's performance at the weekend.
But for Hazard, still trying to get 100 per cent fit after an injury-interrupted pre-season, it has been harder.
Hazard admitted ahead of his side's clash with Brugge that he doesn't feel like a Galactico yet due to his slow start to life at the Bernabeu.