If you want to play like Chelsea's Eden Hazard the first thing you need to do is master the ability to dribble the ball with every step you take. Why? Because if you dribble with every step, you're able to keep the ball close to you and cut the ball in different directions and keep the defenders guessing and off balance.
How do you learn to play like Hazard? It might seem simple, but dribbling in and out of a set of cones is a good way to start. The trick is to do it on a daily basis until you master it using one foot.
Next, to play like Hazard you not only have to keep the ball close to you, like Messi does, but also dribble at speed. If you watch Hazard play you'll also notice how is first touch is often into space so as to beat defenders and take players on. Practice receiving a hard pass and control the ball into the open space.
Eden Hazard's training methods and his routine as a young player were simply spending time with the soccer ball and playing with his brothers. It also helps that both of his parents played soccer, so it was always in his blood.
What makes Eden Hazard stand out as a soccer player? Certainly it's Hazard's unique ability to dribble the ball at speed. He's excellent at keeping the ball close to him and taking players on, perhaps one of the best in the world at this.
It's a skill that's often lost in the game of soccer, where playing two touch soccer is usually what coaches are yelling about at youth soccer games. But as a young player, it will help you in the future to learn how to take players on, like Hazard does.
And when you take players on you draw a lot of defenders, which opens up spaces for your teammates. Hazard is very good at dribbling at defenders, drawing a crowd of defenders, and then slipping the ball off to a teammate.
It's also why Manchester United decided to man-mark Hazard throughout a recent game to shut him down. They were successful in large part because other Chelsea players didn't step up and fill in the open spaces left when Ander Herrera was man-marking Hazard. Herrera literally followed Hazard everywhere during the game.
Hazard is also pretty small, at just 5′ 8″, and seemingly looks a bit smaller on the soccer pitch. But his small stature doesn't stop him from holding offer defenders and using his body to shield the ball. He's actually very good at drawing defenders in and getting fouls near the top of the box for his team.
Quote: "I have always been small, so defenders have always been taller and tougher than me. So that's difficult for me; they foul me sometimes, but there you are - that's what the rules of the game are for."
One thing that Chelsea's Hazard loves to do his flick the ball with the inside of his foot or heel area when he's closed down. In the video below, as Hazard is closed down he must flick the ball nearly 20 different times. He's also known to pull off a rabona pass now and again.
Here former Arsenal star Thierry Henry talks to Hazard about his "instincts" in the soccer field. And how he would rather go inside to use his right foot. It's true, to become a pro soccer player you need to be able to play with both feet, but it's fine if you prefer to use one foot in particular - you just have to be exceptionally good with that favored foot.