He was the Blues hero who wowed supporters with his mesmeric skill on the ball but tonight Eden Hazard returns to Stamford Bridge on a mission to deny his former employers a spot in the biggest game in club football.
The advantage is with Chelsea after a 1-1 draw at Real Madrid last week, in a game Thomas Tuchel’s side dominated and, frankly, should have won.
Late in proceedings, Hazard returned from injury and played a cameo role. On Saturday, he started and played 70 minutes in the win against Osasuna. So, is the Belgian returning at just the right time, to knock-out the club which once loved him?
The 30-year-old had the best moments of his career at Stamford Bridge, progressing from one of Europe’s brightest young talents upon signing from Lille in 2012 to a £143m player seven years later.
The moments which spring immediately to mind are the individual flashes of brilliance, often on the biggest of stages.
Arguably his best ever goal came on this ground, against Arsenal in February 2017.
Any Blues fan will remember it like yesterday. Receiving the ball in the centre-circle, Chelsea’s No 10 pushed aside the tepid challenge of Francis Coquelin and advanced towards the penalty area.
From there, he shimmied left, than back to the right – leaving Gunners centre backs Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi stranded – before finishing cleverly into the corner beyond former team-mate Petr Cech.
It was Hazard’s finest moment in a campaign where he picked up his second Premier League winners’ medal, this time under Antonio Conte.
One of the best performances that season was a 5-0 thrashing of Everton, with Hazard scoring two exquisite goals.
Two years earlier, Hazard registered 19 goals in 52 games in all competitions and was voted the PFA Player of the Year for his work in Jose Mourinho’s title-winners.
That season, he scored the goal which clinched the Premier League, against Crystal Palace at the Bridge.
But it was his goal a season later – in a 2015-16 campaign which actually saw the Belgian’s performance level drop considerably – which is perhaps the most memorable of them all.
London rivals Tottenham needed to win at the Bridge to keep their slim title chances alive. Anything else, and Leicester were champions.
On a feisty, raucous occasion, Spurs went 2-0 up but Chelsea roared back, with Hazard scoring the equaliser with 10 minutes to go to break Spurs hearts.
It was the sort of goal you feel you saw every other week from Hazard. Cutting in from the left at rapid speed, a give-and-go with a midfielder before curling inch-perfectly into the far corner.
In the years that followed, Hazard became Chelsea’s most important player and the side’s constant threat when the likes of Diego Costa came and went, and the old guard were recycled for upcoming talent.
His final season though was the most prolific of them all, under Maurizio Sarri.
The Belgian scored 21 times to, practically single-handedly, guide Chelsea to a Champions League finish as well as glory in the Europa League.
In his penultimate month, he scored an incredible solo goal, weaving past three players right through the heart of the West Ham defence before a low finish into the corner.
By this point in his career, Chelsea fans instinctively knew they were seeing his last hurrah.
Yet despite a mega-£143m move that summer to Madrid, Hazard has struggled badly in the Spanish capital.
His fitness has been in the spotlight, he has been unlucky with injuries and in nearly two years has scored just four times for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
However, he showed a few flashes at the weekend of his stunning ability. He is unlikely to start tonight, but don’t discount Hazard making the difference from the bench.
These huge games often come down to big moments. Hazard was the king of the big moment at Stamford Bridge only this time, Chelsea will be hoping he fails to perform at the place he used to call home.
HAZARD’S BEST MOMENTS AT STAMFORD BRIDGE
5) Brace in 5-0 win against Everton, November 2016
The Belgian was in mesmeric form in the early months under Antonio Conte, stealing the show against the Toffees with two goals of the highest quality – the first an accurate finish into the corner and the second a brilliant run and finish.
4) Stunning solo goal against West Ham, April 2019
By this point, his time at Chelsea was coming to an end but boy did he give the Chelsea fans a goodbye gift, beating three players and finishing with aplomb from the edge of the box.
3) Title-clinching goal against Crystal Palace, May 2015
This was the first season – his third at Chelsea – where Hazard reached the next level , as he won the PFA Player of the Year award in a title-winning season under Jose Mourinho. He scored the title-clinching goal too, from a penalty rebound, against Palace.
2) Equaliser vs Tottenham, Battle of Stamford Bridge, May 2016
One of Hazard’s most memorable moments came as Chelsea denied Tottenham a win at the Bridge in 2015-16, thus handing the crown to Leicester in a clash famous for a number of scraps throughout the evening.
1) Phenomenal solo goal against Arsenal, February 2017
He picked the ball up in the centre-circle, shrugged off Francis Coquelin, turned Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi inside-out before finishing beyond Petr Cech – a goal of individual beauty.