Last night, Eden Hazard and a little ball boy from Swansea City went viral as Chelsea crashed out to their Welsh opponents in the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final. Hazard kicked the boy, but was it meant? Who deserves the blame? Or should we all just calm down?
By Anton Horan – @AntonH79
So, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard kicked a ball from under a ball boy doing a ‘planking’ manoeuvre. Eden Hazard, in kicking said ball from under said ball boy would appear to have struck said ball boy around the torso.
Yes, this did actually happen during a game of football at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium! Okay, so it’s probably fairly old news now even though it happened only last night. Everyone has had their say on the matter and some people blame the ball boy, some people blame Hazard, some people blame both, some people just think it was one of those things.
Personally, I think the ball boy was a little silly to do what he did, but Hazard was extremely foolish to aim a kick at the ball (surely knowing the risk of connecting with the boy in the process). That said, the ball boy is a young lad and is probably excited at the prospect of a Wembley final for his team. Why not have a bit of fun with one of the opposition players? A little japery here and there to remind us that football is, after all, only a game. So, though I say the ball boy was a little silly, that’s all it is. He was indulging himself in a little tomfoolery and, though he probably did desire to wind up Hazard a little, was entitled to expect the Chelsea player to maybe go along with the joke, even if only for a few seconds. As it happened, Hazard was in the middle of a serious game of football and time was running out for his team. He let his frustration get the better of him and probably thought he could kick the ball away without hurting the lad. Unfortunately for him it didn’t quite turn out this way. I sincerely believe Hazard’s intentions were to just kick the ball away, resulting in no harm to the boy.
So, there are explanations from all sides for this little episode. Who is in the wrong? Well this, of course, in our modern society is always the big question and the issue may yet become a matter for police investigation. However, I don’t think we should get bogged down unnecessarily with the rights and wrongs of the matter. I think we should try to appreciate both sides of the story and – although I think Hazard was extremely foolish – accept that he misjudged the situation and has, thankfully, since apologised to the young lad. That is the main thing. We don’t need to go hunting down Hazard for his misjudgment and we don’t need to make this young lad into some kind of new age star simply because he bore the brunt of a frustrated footballer’s right boot.
Who was in the wrong? Eden Hazard, the ball boy, or both? Give us your views @talkingbaws or comment below. Watch out for Rob Boulton’s blog tomorrow.