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Chelsea players drop latest Hazard hint

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Chelsea are currently training in Boston ahead of their charity match against the New England Revolution on Wednesday, and plenty of their players have been asked to focus on one of the main questions in world soccer right now.

‘So, what is going on with Eden Hazard?’

That’s fair enough, as Chelsea’s next few seasons depends heavily on whether or not the Belgian superstar is going to sign a new deal (unlikely) or head to Real Madrid this summer (highly likely).

After their final game of the Premier League season Hazard said publicly that he has told Chelsea what he wants to do, and with just one year left on his current contract it is believed he wants to join Real Madrid this summer and play for Zinedine Zidane.

Speaking to our partners Sky Sports about Hazard’s future, Chelsea’s Brazilian center back David Luiz mentioned his experience and a cycle being finished…

“I want him to stay, of course, he’s a great player and I want to play with the best,” Luiz said. “But he has to decide. I decided for myself when I left Chelsea for PSG. It was not easy for me but it was a decision I took in the moment because my cycle was finished here. I was trying to feel a different challenge and everybody respected that. So just respect him also. He has to decide for himself. He is a great player and a great friend of mine. He came here as a little boy and now he is one of the best players in the world. I wish him all the best, I just hope he can stay with us.”

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek echoed Luiz’s sentiments, but there is a growing sense that the west London club are prepping for Hazard’s impending departure.

“Everyone at the club wants him to stay; players, fans, staff and manager included,” Loftus-Cheek said. “He is such a talent and a player who has contributed to the club massively over the past seven years, the titles he has helped the club win. Everyone has enjoyed watching him play over the past seven years so I’m sure the club thanks him for what he’s done. If he does decide to move on, we wish him all the best.”

These comments are similar in nature and it seems as though Chelsea’s players are resigned to losing Hazard after their UEFA Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku, Azerbaijan on May 29.

What can Chelsea do in this situation? The best thing to do is get as much money as they can from Real for Hazard, but they are backed into a little bit of a corner.

With their appeal against a transfer ban until July 2020 upheld — Chelsea have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is their final chance to overturn the sanction for breaking rules over signing overseas players under the age of 18 — the Blues may decide to keep Hazard for next season despite his desire to leave.

Chelsea would likely want $140 million for him this summer, but will Real pay that? They know they can get Hazard for free in the summer of 2020, as they could also agree that deal from Jan. 1, 2020. This situation promises to be the transfer saga of the summer, and it is all about valuations. How much would it actually cost Chelsea to cash in on Hazard while he still has some value? And will Real draw this out as they always seem to do?

This is a tricky one. Do you keep a player who wants to leave against his will and then let him leave on a free next summer? Or do you sell him now and risk not qualifying for the Champions League next season? The latter could produce an even larger financial headache for Chelsea to solve.

Decisions. Decisions. The clock is ticking for Chelsea, Real Madrid and Hazard, but if the comments from his teammates are anything to go by, there is only one outcome here.

Southgate, England players sound off on racist abuse

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England took care of business in Monday’s 6-0 thrashing of Bulgaria, but the Three Lions had to endure some horrendous racist abuse from the crowd during the game.

The match was paused on two occasions I’m the first half by the match officials after racist chanting could be heard from a section of supporters, and a large group of Bulgarian fans were ejected towards the end of the half. However, racist abuse continued during the match from small pockets of fans in the stadium.

[READ: England v. Bulgaria delayed after racist abuse from stands]

“I have to say that the officials were on to everything very quickly,” England manager Gareth Southgate told ITV after the match. “We reported everything immediately when we heard things, we had constant communication with the fourth official and the referee. I was in contact with the players, all the way through the first half in particular, and then again at halftime.

”We know it’s an unacceptable situation, and I think we’ve managed to make two statements. By winning the game, but also we’re raised the awareness of everybody to the situation. The game was stopped twice, I know for some people that won’t be enough, but we as a group were on board with that process.”

Raheem Sterling, who scored a brace in the win, also sounded off on social media, as did former England and Arsenal star Ian Wright.

Ultimately, UEFA and the match officials followed the protocol, but the sad part about this is that England and the officials had a plan for racist abuse, and it was predictable that it would happen.

In a statement after the game, the FA confirmed they would be asking UEFA to investigate what happened. However, any punishment is too little, too late for the players who endured the abuse.

Kane, Sterling star as England rout Bulgaria

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On a night where racist abuse from the stands in Bulgaria marred the overall spectacle, England’s players produced an incredible result and spectacle for the visiting fans, with all things considered.

Harry Kane scored once and assisted on three others as England rolled over Bulgaria, winning 6-0 on Monday evening in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria. Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley both scored a brace for the Three Lions and Marcus Rashford’s thunderbolt from a tight angle gave England the opening goal it needed.

The blowout result was the perfect response after England had suffered its first loss in qualifying for a decade, losing on Friday, 2-1 at the Czech Republic. The six goals England put past Bulgaria was also the fourth time out of six games that England had scored at least five goals in a match. The only other time, aside from the defeat, was a 4-0 win last month at Wembley Stadium over Bulgaria.

This story will be updated.

 

Racist abuse delays England v. Bulgaria qualifier

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England raced out to an impressive 4-0 lead at Bulgaria by halftime, but the wonderful attacking display was marred by horrendous incidents from the crowd.

The match in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria was stopped on two occasions with announcements being made to ask sections of the crowd to stop their abusive language. This comes with the stadium already serving a partial stadium closure due to racist chanting from the crowd in previous qualifiers.

Below is UEFA’s protocol on how to intervene in these situations, and what transpired from lead writer Joe Prince-Wright.

Tottenham re-signs goalkeeper Vorm

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With Hugo Lloris set to miss at least another two months of action with a broken elbow, Tottenham has turned to a familiar face to provide some cover between the pipes.

Tottenham announced Monday it had re-signed goalkeeper Michel Vorm to a contract through the end of the 2019-2020 Premier League season. Vorm spent five seasons with Tottenham after signing from Swansea City in 2014. However, after playing second-fiddle to Lloris and later serving as the third backup behind current Tottenham No. 2, Paulo Gazzaniga for the past couple of seasons, Vorm was released at the end of last season.

Its certainly a boost for Tottenham that a player with a long history at the club and plenty of experience was available to help in this situation. Similar to Liverpool picking up Adrian after Alisson Becker’s injury, Tottenham know what it’s getting in Vorm and may play him a few times if Gazzaniga needs a night off in the next few months.

According to Vorm, he had been home in his native Netherlands and was watching the game when he saw Lloris get injured.

“Obviously I saw straight away that he had a bad injury and at the time I thought about how bad it was, Vorm told Tottenham’s website. “After the game I spoke with Jan (Vertonghen), he told me what was going on and I spoke also with Toni (Jimenez, our goalkeeping coach) and, yes, during the week I got the phone call to ask if I was open to come back and help out. I’ve kept in contact with a lot of the players and also with Toni. We were speaking quite regularly and on Thursday he called me, we had the conversation and from there on, it went very quickly.”

In his five seasons with Tottenham, Vorm made a total of 47 appearances in all competitions. He saw plenty of time in the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and Champions League during his stay at White Hart Lane.