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Near and Far: Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard is the latest player to answer questions on his own country and others further afield. He tells us what makes Belgium so special and why he hopes to explore South America...


WHAT CHARACTERISTICS DEFINE YOUR COUNTRY?

Our country is full of good people. There are two sides, the French part and the Flemish part, and in the last few years, particularly because of the football team, we have all come together. It’s a good country and there are some great cities such as Brugge and Brussels. We also have nice food and there are some lovely restaurants in Belgium. The only bad thing is the weather, which is similar to London, but there is nothing we can do about that.


WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN BELGIUM?

My village, Braine-le-Comte, of course. When I was a kid I didn’t move around a lot because all of my family lived close by so it’s special to me. Of course, there are some other nice places. We call Brugge ‘Small Venice’ because it’s nice to visit, a very romantic city. Brussels is also good. Braine-le-Comte is a small village, it's around 30 minutes outside Brussels.
 

IS THERE ANYWHERE YOU WOULD LIKE TO GO IN BELGIUM YOU’VE NEVER BEEN?

To be honest, I’ve been to most places in Belgium. We don’t have mountains like in France, but there are some parts where the altitude is high, so it would be good to visit those type of areas as I’ve never been before. That would be something different.
 

OTHER THAN FOOTBALL, WHICH SPORTS ARE POPULAR? AND ARE YOU ANY GOOD AT THEM?

Hockey is very popular. The men's team lost in the final at the Olympics last summer. I never really played, I don’t think I’d be very good. Tennis is also popular and a few years ago we had some of the best players in the women’s game such as Kim Clijsters and Justin Henin. We are also very good at cycling.

WHAT LANGUAGES DO YOU SPEAK AND WHICH WOULD YOU LIKE TO SPEAK?

I speak French and English. I’d like to learn the Chinese or Japanese languages because they’re completely different to anything else. It would be good to understand them.
 

WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU LEFT YOUR COUNTRY?

It would have been for a family holiday when I was very young. We used to go away to places in Europe and I remember going to Spain when I was a kid, I think that was the first time I left Belgium.
 

WHERE IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO WHERE YOU’VE NEVER BEEN?

Good question. I’ve been to a lot of places for football. I went to Brazil for the World Cup but I would like to go to other parts of South America like Argentina (pictured below) and Chile, it would be nice to go to Mexico as well. It’s different when you go to places for football because you are there to train, play matches and see the fans. I try to stay quite close when I go away for relaxation because I have small children so it’s not easy to travel a long way.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF LIVING WHEN YOU FINISH PLAYING FOOTBALL?

I don’t know, it’s hard to say. Maybe I will live in Belgium, to be close to the family, or else I could go somewhere with nice weather. My kids are very settled in London so it could be here, that’s a long way off yet so we will see.

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