Eden Hazard‘s soccer career is remembered mostly for the moments of sheer individual brilliance that left fans speechless.
If it was delivering a Ligue 1 title to Lille as a teenager or even being the driving force behind multiple Premier League title winning campaigns with Chelsea, Hazard was rarely out of the spotlight.
This was never more evident that one remarkable incident way back in his debut season in English football, where an encounter with a Swansea City ballboy would eventually lead full-circle to a drink meeting in 2024.
“One good thing about retirement is catching up with old friends. You’ve come a long way, friend Charlie Morgan,” Hazard posted on Instagram.
This is the message with which Eden Hazard accompanies several photos of himself on Instagram with, indeed, Charlie Morgan. They had a few drinks, played chess and golf. It was quite a reunion between two acquaintances.
The thing is that the last time they met, one was a Chelsea player, the other a ball boy… and their meeting ended in aggression.
It all happened in 2013. Swansea beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge 2-0 in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-finals. Goals from Michu and Danny Graham put the Welsh side, coached by Michael Laudrup, on the brink of a historic final.
A qualification they were to clinch at home, a day marked in red on Swansea’s calendar for 17-year-old Charlie Morgan, son of club director Martin Morgan.
In the 78th minute of the game, with the score at 0-0 and Chelsea desperate, the ball came out wide within range of Charlie, ball boy that night, who instead of returning it to the pitch to put it back into play, lay down on the ball to prevent Hazard, who was on hand, from getting a quick throw-in off.
And the Belgian, in his first season with the Blues, ended up kicking him in the ribs to get him to release the ball. There was a red card, fuss, lost minutes for Chelsea and Swansea qualified for a final that they would go on to win 5-0 against Bradford City.
If anyone thought the poor lad had had a slip-up, he immediately posted a message on Twitter announcing that he was going to be one of the ball boys for the match… and making his intentions clear: “The king of the ball boys returns for a time-wasting exhibition”.
From this ‘assault’ to the UK’s richest list
His plan was as successful as his venture into entrepreneurship. Barely three years after that night against Chelsea, Charlie Morgan created an exclusive brand of vodka with which he has amassed a fortune with which he is once again rubbing shoulders with British footballers… but in the UK’s richest lists.
The Times estimated his fortune a few months ago at 55 million pounds, which placed him on the list ahead of Harry Kane (and other entertainment stars such as Niall Horan or Louis Tomlinson) and with Raheem Sterling (61 million) and Gareth Bale (70 million) in the spotlight.
This is the text with which The Times presented Charlie in the list.
“The ostentatious golden bottles of AU Vodka are a fixture in many bars and clubs, but ten years ago, Morgan, 27, was known for being the 17-year-old ball boy kicked in the ribs by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard,” the profile read.
“With Swansea City ahead, Morgan appeared to lie on the ball in an attempt to prevent the Belgian star from putting it back into play. Hazard tackled him and was sent off. Morgan was determined that the incident would not define his life.
“Three years later, the hotelier’s son launched a brand of vodka with his school friend Jackson Quinn. AU sales soared to 43.9m in 2021-22.”
Actually, Hazard‘s Instagram photos were not the first time Eden and Charlie had seen each other’s faces. There was forgiveness. After that encounter, Morgan was invited to the Chelsea dressing room to receive an apology from the Belgian player. There he shook hands with Hazard who also apologized publicly.
“The guy put his whole body on the ball. I was trying to hit the ball, not the kid. I’m sorry,” he apologized.
Now, sometime later, they have been able to have a drink together and reminisce on one of the more dramatic days in Carabao Cup history.
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