Ahead of Chelsea’s trip to France to play red-hot Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg on Tuesday, this is not the kind of thing Blues fans will want to hear.
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Struggling winger Eden Hazard — the same Hazard who was the runaway Premier League Player of the Year last season and led Jose Mourinho’s side to title glory — has failed to score in his last 26 PL games and now appears to be hankering for a move back to France.
Hazard, 25, joined Chelsea from Ligue 1 outfit Lille in 2012 for $45 million but he now appears quite open to getting a move back to France, especially if that means getting back into the Champions League. The only way Chelsea would compete in the UCL next season is if they win the competition this year as their chances of finishing in the PL’s top four are all but over.
These quotes from Le Parisien seem to tell the story…
“[It is] difficult to say no to PSG, or to any of the teams capable of winning the Champions League,” Hazard said. “PSG are now in that category. And for me, winning the Champions League is my main aim.”
Hazard did carry on to say he wasn’t “thinking about a move” right now but given the fact that his form has dipped dramatically and rumors regarding his involvement in the sacking of Mourinho continue, perhaps a change of scenery and a move back to a land he called home for many years is appealing. Ahead of a pivotal week in the season with these huge UCL clash in Paris and then Manchester City visiting Stamford Bridge in the last 16 of the FA Cup on Sunday, the timing of Hazard’s comments is awful at best.
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Quite where he’d fit in at PSG is another matter entirely with Angel di Maria, Lucas Moura, Edinson Cavani and Javier Pastore set to be around the Parc des Princes next season. But if you’re PSG and Hazard becomes available, you take him. Their Qatar-based owners are steaming ahead with their plans to become one of the most recognizable and successful teams on the planet. After knocking Chelsea out of the UCL last season but falling in the quarterfinals to Barcelona, PSG have big hopes of going to at least the semifinals of the competition this season. Laurent Blanc’s side are storming away with the French title and are currently 24 points clear at the top with 12 games to go.
From being a fans favorite at Chelsea and the standout player in the PL, Hazard’s shocking demise this season has mirrored Chelsea’s. The correlation is clear. If he returns to top form then he will be the leading light in world soccer once the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo era has past.
But will he return to greatness in the royal blue of Chelsea or the dark blue of PSG?