What in the world happened to Eden Hazard? The downfall of the Belgian attacking midfielder has been one of the most puzzling narratives of the 2015 2016 Premier League. That's saying a lot, considering the fact that Hazard's club, Chelsea FC, have experienced a puzzling narrative of their own. With Eden Hazard out of favor at Chelsea, could a move out of the Premier League help Eden find his footing once again?

From Player of the Year to Dead Weight

Six months ago, no one in the soccer world would have been speculating about Chelsea wanting to get rid of Hazard. The Belgian star was the playmaker for the Blues during their dynamite 2014 2015 season. He played in all 38 matches of Chelsea's Premier League-winning campaign, scored 14 goals, and provided 10 assists. Diego Costa ended the season as Chelsea's leading goalscorer, but Hazard was the MVP. Unsurprisingly, he was voted the PFA Player of the Year recipient for the 2014 2015 season.

In the 2015 2016 season, though, Hazard's magic touch seems to have abandoned him. In the first nine games of the season, Hazard has only scored a single goal and provided two assists. Jose Mourinho has even left Hazard out of Chelsea's starting lineup-perhaps to send the message that he's even willing to leave a reigning Player of the Year winner on the bench.

The Problem: Chelsea or Hazard?

But let's revisit that first question: what happened to Eden Hazard? If Belgium's recent Euro 2016 qualifying matches are taken to account, it seems like Hazard's sluggish start to the 2015 2016 has more to do with Chelsea than with the player himself.

Indeed, Hazard scored a goal apiece in Belgium's final games of the Euro qualifying campaign, netting a penalty goal in the team's 4-1 win at Andorra and scoring an 84-minute beauty in a 3-1 victory against Israel. The Belgian national football team easily qualified for the 2016 European Championship, finishing at the top of Group B with seven wins, two draws, and one loss. Hazard scored five goals across his country's 10 qualifying games.

As Chelsea, meanwhile, everyone is underperforming. Even
Diego Costa has struggled. Costa scored 20 goals in Premier League competition last season, the third-best tally of the year behind Man City's Sergio Aguero and Tottenham's Harry Kane. So far in the 2015 2016 he's scored just two goals. He's still Chelsea's top scorer.

Numerous media outlets have pointed the finger at Jose Mourinho for playing "mind games" with his players, particularly Hazard. According to a recent Daily Mail report, Hazard wanted Chelsea to adopt a more "expansive, expressive" football style this year. Mourinho, historically a highly tactical soccer coach, didn't like that.

Hazard to Real Madrid

Unsurprisingly, Hazard's visible unhappiness and stagnation at Chelsea have caused many football pundits to speculate that he could leave the soccer club sooner rather than later. Eden signed a five-and-a-half year contract extension just earlier this year, but could still exit if the Blues get a big enough transfer fee offer for him.

Of course, Hazard's frustrations could take care of themselves if he just bides his time. Unless Jose Mourinho starts winning games, playing nice with the press, or treating his players better, the legendary manager could very well be on the chopping block before the end of the season. But rumors are still swirling that Real Madrid are interested in bringing Hazard to Spain. And if any football club can come up with a hefty enough transfer offer to buy a PFA Player of the Year out of a five-year contract, it's Real Madrid.

But would a move to Real Madrid fix Eden's problems, at least at this point in time? Rafael Benitez has turned the Vikings into a more tactical soccer squad this season, not unlike the teams that Jose Mourinho puts on the pitch at Chelsea. For a player who wants to play "expansive, expressive" football, a move to another tactical club might not make much sense.

What do you think? Are you hoping Eden Hazard sticks around, or would you rather see him don the Real Madrid shirt? Share your thoughts with Soccer Box, by joining us on social media! We are active each day on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and other popular social networks.