‘He’s been on Eden Hazard’s diet!’: Arsenal star faces flak from fans after unflattering images of his figure from pre-season defeat by Hibernian were posted online and likened to his former team-mate who turned up overweight at Real Madrid
- Willian struggled in his first season at Arsenal, scoring just one goal in 2020-21
- He looked off the pace in the first half of their pre-season defeat by Hibernian
- Eden Hazard reportedly angered Real Madrid bosses with his physique last year
- And fans have taken to social media to react to pictures of Willian’s physique
Arsenal fans have compared Willian to his former Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard after reacting on social media to the Brazilian’s physique during their pre-season defeat by Hibernian earlier this week.
The 32-year-old had a horrendous first season in north London after leaving Stamford Bridge on a free transfer, managing just one goal and seven assists in his 37 appearances last term.
And Willian’s pre-season preparation has so far followed in a similar vein as he struggled in the first half of Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at Easter Road on Tuesday before he was substituted at half-time for Emile Smith Rowe.
Arsenal fans have taken to social media to react to viral images of Willian’s physique
Willian played 45 minutes in the pre-season friendly defeat by Hibernian on Tuesday evening
He was compared to Eden Hazard (L), who reportedly angered Real Madrid bosses with his physique last season
But Gunners supporters’ criticism of the former Blues star – who is thought to earn £220,000 a week at the Emirates Stadium – has gone up a notch after images of his physique during the game went viral on social media.
Belgium international Hazard reportedly infuriated Real Madrid bosses last season after he allegedly turned up for pre-season overweight for the second year running, and Willian has now drawn comparisons with the 30-year-old following suggestions on social media that the player seems unfit.
One fan tweeted: ‘Willian’s been on the Eden Hazard diet during the off-season,’ followed by some laughing emojis, while a Chelsea supporter added: ‘Willian trying every method to be Eden Hazard.’
Willian and Belgium international Hazard were team-mates at Chelsea before the latter left for Spain
Others compared Willian’s physique to that of MMA fighter Ben Askren (left) earlier this year
Willian was also compared to MMA star Ben Askren, who tipped the scales at 191lbs – the heaviest mark of his career – prior to his defeat by Jake Paul in April, with one adding: ‘Willian look like he on the Ben Askren fitness regime’.
Others however appeared to suggest that Willian’s physique should be the final nail in the coffin for his career at Arsenal and called on the club’s technical director Edu Gaspar to pay his compatriot off with money from his own pocket.
One fan wrote: ‘This Willian nonsense has proper #rustled me. He simply doesn’t give a f***. Gaspar needs to pay this one off with his own money.’
Some fans preferred a more sarcastic approach, with one user commenting: ‘Willian looks ready to prove all the doubters wrong this season, been working hard on his fitness this summer…’
Another meanwhile simply added: ‘Willian rocking the same physique as me atm,’ and another stated: ‘There are real tears in my eyes.’
Other fans called for Gunners technical director Edu (left) to pay the Brazilian to leave the club
But others were in far more serious mood, with one user adding: ‘Willian is clearly retiring soon.. what’s happening to the once upon a time a deadly winger,’ while another commented: ‘Bruh, Arsenal is a mess right now. Look at Willian.’
Arsenal were defeated by Hibernian after young goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo’s howler gave Martin Boyle a tap in before Daniel MacKay headed home a second from a corner in the second half.
The Gunners missed a penalty through Nicolas Pepe while Thomas Partey hit the woodwork with a free-kick prior to Smith Rowe halving the deficit in vain eight minutes from time.
Willian could well be involved again for the Mikel Arteta’s men as they end their five-day training camp in Scotland with another friendly against Steven Gerrard’s Scottish Premiership champions Rangers on Saturday.
Arsenal then travel to the US for friendlies against Inter Milan and either Everton or Colombian outfit Millonarios in the Florida Cup, before returning to London to play in The Mind Series against city rivals Chelsea and Tottenham.
The Premier League campaign for Arteta’s men then kicks off away at newly-promoted Brentford on Friday, August 13.
The Spaniard will be looking for a much-improved league campaign, having finished eighth for a second successive season in 2020-21, resulting in the club missing out on European football this campaign for the first time in 25 years.
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