When Eden Hazard returns to training at Cobham this week following the pre-season tour of the United States, there will be a very familiar face to greet him.
Our June signing from Lille had two weeks to grow accustomed to his new surroundings at the training ground prior to the four-game visit to other side of the Atlantic, and while away, the club signed his younger brother Thorgan from Lens.
At 19, Thorgan (pictured below) is two years younger than Eden (pictured above) and has been continuing his pre-season preparations with our Under-21 squad. Last season was his breakthough into first team football at the French second division side, playing just down the road in northern France from top-flight Lille.
There are similarities in their story – for instance they both played youth football at Tubize in their native Belgium, but there are differences too, including playing style according to Eden.
‘My brother is not the same as me because he is not someone who dribbles a lot,’ he tells the official Chelsea website.
‘He is more someone who has a passing game in midfield. He can play on the wings also but his best position is in central midfield, a number 10.
‘Despite both of us having been at Tubize, we have never played in the same team, so I hope I can play soon alongside my brother in the national team and also for Chelsea.’
Eden kept a close eye on Thorgan’s progress last year and says his brother doesn’t feel he took his chance as well as he wanted when he did play for Lens, yet 14 league appearances is still a healthy return for a teenager in his breakthrough year, and neither of them lack feedback on their performances.
Their father is a former footballer and their mother played at the highest domestic level for women in Belgium.
‘I had my father as a coach for one year and he also followed me after that but not as a coach, more as a fan,’ says Eden. ‘It was really after the game that he was talking, saying what was good about my game and what wasn’t.’
Given the family background, the chance of two sons becoming professionals must have increased but in fact there are two more Hazards who could potentially take the same career path – Kylian and Ethan.
‘One plays in the youth team at Lille and the other plays in Belgium, but he is still very young, he is enjoying football for the first time so we shall see,’ says Eden.
So which of the four will prove to be the best play in the long run?
‘We will see at the end of our careers,’ he smiles. ‘We will see who has won the most trophies.’