“I think it is a goodbye," Eden Hazard said after scoring two goals to help Chelsea win the Europa Cup. A £115 million deal to join Spanish giants Real Madrid has reportedly been agreed.
English Premier League footballer Eden Hazard, one of the best in the world, looks to have played his last match for Chelsea after scoring twice as his club won the Europa Cup 4-1 in Buku, Azerbaijan.
“We will decide in a few days and the only target in my mind was to win this final. I have made my decision already and now I’m waiting on both clubs,” Eden Hazard, the 28-year-old Belgian told BT Sport after the Europa Cup final.
“I think it is a goodbye, but in football you never know. My dream was to play in the Premier League and I have done that for one of the biggest clubs so maybe now it is the time for a new challenge.”
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri said after the Europa Cup victory: “I know he wants to leave and I have to respect his decision.
“He is a wonderful player. It took two or three months for me to understand him as a man and now I do, he’s a wonderful man.
“He’s an extraordinary player. He is a strange boy but when he understands it is extraordinary.”
Hazard joined Chelsea from the French club Lille for £32m (A$58m) in May 2102 on a five‑year deal worth £100,000 (A$182,000) a week, after tax. At the time former Chelsea player Joe Cole, who played with Hazard at Lille, said: “He’s got everything. He’ll maybe become one of the best players in the world.”
Hazard made 352 appearances for Chelsea and scored 110 goals.
Hazard is set to earn around £400,000-a-week (A$730,000) at the Bernabeu, which tops the £300,000-a-week (A$547,000) offer he had on the table from Chelsea.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has been open about his admiration for the midfield genius after a disappointing season when for the first time in four years there will be a Champions League winner other than Real Madrid and for the first time in nine years, Real did not even make it to the final four, let alone the last eight.
“We have been trying to make Hazard a Real Madrid player for several years,” he said.
“We are working on a project to make people dream again, where we recover our hunger and ambition. I have already lived through this stage before.
“I have a dream that Hazard will arrive this year. Let’s make a good team this year.
“I am very interested in him coming to Real Madrid and I am very hopeful that he will come this year. He’s one of the great footballers. Last year we wanted him, but this year he only has one year left on his contract and it is easier.”
Two former Chelsea players spoke of her admiration for Hazard after the Europa Cup final. Cesc Fabregas on BT Sport, said: “When Hazard has the ball, you expect something to happen and the rest of the players come alive. I cannot say he will be the best player in the club’s history, but he is the most talented player they have ever had.”
"I don't think Chelsea can give him what he deserves."
"There is a ceiling he can go much higher than."
"He can win the Ballon d'Or at Real Madrid."
Cesc Fabregas says now is definitely the time for Eden Hazard to leave Chelsea… pic.twitter.com/XzvmdCbAFQ
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 29, 2019
Pat Nevin, former Chelsea and Scotland winger, on BBC Radio 5 Live, said: “Hazard is the most skilful player that’s ever played for Chelsea, and that’s saying something because look at the quality of players that they’ve had. He’s astonishing. Former midfielder Frank Lampard may have had a better impact but for pure skill, Hazard is world class, and he had yet another ‘worldie’.