Thorgan Hazard is lighting up UEFA Euro 2020, just as he does the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund where he has established himself as one of the most feared attacking players in Germany. With that in mind, it's high time bundesliga.com took you through 10 things you might not have known about Real Madrid star Eden's little brother…
1) Thorgan by name...
It's not easy to make a first name for yourself when your elder brother is a global superstar, but at least Thorgan can lay claim to having an unusual one. It was inspired by a character, Thorgal Aegirsson, in a Belgian fantasy comic book that first appeared in serial form in Tintin magazine in the late 70s. The fictional character, who was born on another planet, was raised by Vikings after his spaceship crashed on Earth. Perhaps that explains the exceptional success of the Hazard brood….
If it does, it means that Carine and Thierry Hazard, the parents of Thorgan, Eden et al, also have an extraterrestrial pedigree. They have a football background too. While dad was a semi-professional player, slogging about the midfield of La Louviere, the town where Thorgan and Eden were born, mum was a top-flight forward for six years. "As a girl, I went with my dad to games," she said. "I played myself later and Eden scored goals before his birth thanks to me." The pair then became Physical Education teachers before "enjoying going to see our children after a week’s work."
3) Soccer mom
Carine was a real driving force behind her boys following their parents into the game. Though she met her husband at a football match - "he came to see the girls," she revealed - she was, in Thierry's own words, "the most committed one" when it came to their sons becoming players even if "we never pushed the children to play football." The pair would rack up the miles driving to see their eldest sons play in their early days. From their home in Braine-le-Comte, where they made their base on the aptly-named Rue du Stade (Stadium Street) just 30 miles from the French border, they would head south to see Thorgan at Lens' youth team before going on to watch Eden with the pros at Lille.
4) Divided loyalties
Lille had wanted Thorgan to join Eden at the French side, but that fraternal reunion would have to wait until they both arrived at Chelsea. Instead, Thorgan joined Lens after being spotted by them at a youth tournament. "My parents preferred that I not be in the same club as Eden to avoid comparisons," he explained. With the Sang et Or - the Blood and Gold - he played alongside Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane and Valencia midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia in winning France's Under-16 championship in 2008/09.
5) In the Garden with Eden
"When we were little, I went in goal and Eden would shoot at me like a madman," revealed Thorgan, who is almost inevitably compared to his brother at every step, despite their parents' caution. Those parallels became all the more defined when their careers dovetailed in 2012 as the younger Hazard followed his elder sibling - two years, two months his senior - to Stamford Bridge.
"Of course, it helped that Chelsea also signed Eden, but it is not like they just sign every player's brother. [Frank] Lampard and [John] Terry's brothers never played for Chelsea," said Thorgan, who had featured in just 14 Ligue 2 games for Lens. "They signed me because I showed potential. They had to pay Lens a transfer fee to get me. And they were right. I might not be following the same path as Eden, but I am improving step by step."
6) Ex-zulte in Waregem
While Eden's career trajectory was sure to be at Stamford Bridge and beyond, Thorgan was immediately sent out on loan, returning to his native country to join Zulte Waregem. Though on a smaller stage than his brother, Thorgan was no less impressive. After the 2012/13 season ended with qualification for the Champions League qualifying rounds, the following campaign saw him finish as the club's second-top scorer with 14 goals while also being named his club's and his country's Player of the Year. All that, despite the season having started with him, aged 20, being handed the captain's armband, replacing the veteran, Davy De Fauw. The "commotion" - as the club so cutely termed it - caused by the unpopular move saw Thorgan hand the honour back to his team-mate within 24 hours…
7) From galloping Foal to buzzing Bee
Success in Belgium earned Hazard a trip back to England… and an immediate return to the continent, where Gladbach were only too happy to give him his first taste of one of Europe's big five leagues. Hazard went from strength to strength in his time with Gladbach and ended his career as a Foal with 46 goals and 44 assists in just under 200 appearances before switching Borussias. And since joining Dortmund in the summer of 2019, Hazard has become a key part of one of the league's most frightening attacks.
Playing alongside the likes of Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus, Hazard took to life at the Signal Iduna Park like a proverbial duck to water, and he claimed March's Goal of the Month award for a stunner against his old club. Two seasons into his Dortmund stay, Hazard has 11 goals and 20 assists to his name in 71 appearances for the club in all competitions.
Watch: All of Hazard's goals and assists in 2019/20
8) National team
Thorgan became the second Hazard to represent their country when Marc Wilmots handed him his senior Belgium debut in a 4-2 win in a friendly against the USA on 29 May 2013. He did not get to play alongside Eden at the Brazil World Cup the following year as he was named among seven reserves for the main squad, and also missed out on EURO 2016, but has since become a mainstay in the Red Devils' squads with 38 appearances to his name. Two of those caps came at the 2018 World Cup, while the younger of the two Hazard's has been integral for Belgium at Euro 2020. He has scored twice in three appearances of his country's run to the quarter-finals, including the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win over reigning champions Portugal in the first knockout round.
9) Brotherly love
"We're brothers, but we’re rivals in the national team," explained Thorgan early in the 2017/18 season referring to his big brother, but added "we have never had big arguments." The relationship between the pair is as close as it was when they were children when Eden practiced his shooting at the expense of his brother. Seen together in a video in which they surprise customers at a fast-food restaurant by serving them at the drive-thru, the pair make fun of the eternal question: which one of you is better? For Eden, he is only too happy to super-size his younger brother's achievements.
"I don't think it's easy every day to be compared to your big brother because your big brother has already done some good things in football," the Real Madrid forward said after Thorgan was named Belgium's Player of the Year in 2014. "He deserves more praise than me because I think it’s harder for him, because everything has come to me quickly, I played some good matches early in my career. He has always had to contend with, 'He's the brother of Eden…' Now he has made a first name for himself in Belgium."
10) A dinner-sty
Defenders can now take a collective groan, because Thorgan and Eden are not the only Hazards they may have to duke it out with in the future. The pair are two of four brothers, all of whom are making waves in the football world. Touted as 'even better than Eden' while coming through the Lille youth academy, Kylian, 23, joined Chelsea's Elite Development Squad after a spell at Zulte Waregem and Ujpest in Hungary. Ethan, by seven years the youngest of the four, is "also starting to count his goals and assists," Thorgan revealed. Why? Because the Hazard that tallies the fewest during his club season has to take the whole family out to dinner. "He'll have to save up if he’s going to do that," said Thorgan with a smile. "Or perhaps his big brothers can help him out."