Cristiano Ronaldo had departed the club for Juventus, and there was an enormous void for the Belgian international to fill.
Less than 18 months after his arrival at the Bernabeu, he has manged to show on mere glimpses of his undoubted talent, with the move having deteriorated into something of a nightmare.
Injuries have been the primary cause of his strife. The curse struck again on Saturday in a home encounter against Deportivo Alaves as he was hauled off in the first half suffering a muscular complaint.
Madrid have a hectic schedule before Christmas, and they can scantly afford to do without their £89 million (€100m) man.
It may be time for Zinedine Zidane to start planning to be without him, though.
Eden Hazard’s Real Madrid injury history
It is 540 days since Hazard’s move to the Bernabeu was announced by Real Madrid. So far, he has missed 253 of them.
Indeed, he has played only 28 of the 64 fixtures of Los Blancos in that time.
Having barely missed a match during his extensive period at Chelsea, his problems started quickly in the Spanish capital.
He was unable to make his anticipated debut in the opening game of the 2019/20 season against Celta Vigo after suffering a hamstring problem. That would keep him out until the middle of September, but it proved to be barely the tip of his injury iceberg.
A bruised ankle prevented him playing a single match in the autumn, but it was hairline crack in his foot that was his first serious concern. He missed more than two months and 17 matches over the festive period.
Just a couple of weeks after his return, he suffered from a break in his leg. That threatened to be an even more serious concern, yet the coronavirus crisis allowed him to play again that season.
Hazard's injury history
|Issue||Days missed||Matches missed|
|Hairline crack in foot||67||17|
|Fissure of fibula||76||3|
Even that, however, was not without a hiccup. An unspecified knock saw him miss two more games.
His luck has not improved any this term. He did not play between 1st September and 27th October because of a muscle problem – that was a nine-game absence – while he suffered a Covid-19 infection earlier this month.
Now he faces another spell on the sidelines, with this absence coming at a crucial time with his club struggling. Madrid could really use Hazard fit and at his best.