Chelsea's Lionel Messi must use Club World Cup record to repeat Eden Hazard Premier League feat


Kai Havertz might be trying to do Didier Drogba's Chelsea career in reverse. He's only 22 but now finds himself in Chelsea folklore for a Champions League-winning goal and making the Blues world champions for the very first time.

But these moments radically clash with the majority of his Stamford Bridge career that has been underwhelming. Only six Premier League goals from 43 appearances does not reflect a player capable of such legendary moments. When Drogba kicked the winning penalty in Munich, there was little doubt this was the talismanic protagonist to do so.

Havertz scoring the winning penalty in the Club World Cup is continuing a lovely trend of big goals in finals but it is in sharp contrast to a pretty underwhelming season.

 If he repeats the feat on the 27th of this month against Liverpool, then it will only instil his growing reputation as a "big-game" player. There is also the glory of being able to match a record held by Lionel Messi since 2011 of scoring in the finals of the Champions League and Club World Cup.

He is in great company, the sort some fans would have wildly hoped he could emulate when he signed for the club in 2020.

  The generational tag surrounded him as one of Europe's breakout stars and there were comparisons being made to Eden Hazard's arrival eight years earlier. But in a domestic sense, Havertz still feels miles away from the player Chelsea invested £71m in almost two years ago.

Even on Saturday against Palmeiras, the German did little to influence the game in open play, he remained on the periphery. There were some great positions picked up in the first half but his decision making when receiving the ball was severely lacking.

 Unlike his attacking partner Romelu Lukaku, the overall game was not one to offer much evidence of a turn in form, but his one kick from the spot defined the game. Isn't that what great players do?

Hazard scored winning penalties in Cup finals like the 2018 FA Cup win over Manchester United and the 2019 hammering of Arsenal in the Europa League. But in both games, his influence in open play was as defining – winning the penalty against United and scoring and setting up another against Arsenal.

When Chelsea return to Premier League action at Selhurst Park next Saturday, there is a very good chance Havertz remains in the lineup, boosted by another historic moment. The winning penalty in Abu Dhabi should prompt a longer-lasting and sustainable sign of progress to become one of the Blues most influential figures.

However, he could remain on the fringes for another six months and then pop up with another winning goal that clinches another piece of silverware.

Isn't that paying back the fee? Didn't he already do that in Porto? The tale of Havertz at Chelsea is simultaneously frustrating, erratic but littered with moments of ecstasy. Kai almost sounds like the living embodiment of Roman Abramovich's Chelsea.

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