It has been no secret that Real Madrid covet Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard as the crown jewel of the squad overhaul set to take place this summer, nor has it been exactly strictly confidential news that Hazard is also quite keen on making the move to the Spanish capital.
[ MORE: Chelsea win Europa League after Arsenal capitulate (video) ]
It was widely speculated — even by Hazard himself — that Wednesday’s Europa League final, which the Blues won by thumping Arsenal, could be the 28-year-old Belgian’s final game for the club.
Mere minutes after the final whistle in Baku, Azerbaijan, Hazard was, shall we say, extremely transparent about what lies ahead — quotes from the BBC:
“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. 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.”
“It was good. I think both teams were playing with a bit of stress with it being a final but when Olivier [Giroud] scored it was the beginning of a great night. We played well and controlled the game and I’m happy to leave this trophy with the boys. The manager said to carry on playing football at the break and today we showed this mentality.”
The Blues are set to begin a two-window transfer ban this summer, meaning the roughly $150 million they are expected to receive in exchange for Hazard will burn a hole in Maurizio Sarri‘s pocket — assuming he remains as manager, of course — until this time next year.
Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers aim to collect a bit of silverware on the second Premier League Asia Trophy match day of the summer.
But first, a pair of Uniteds look to get off the map after beatdowns in their tournament openers.
Newcastle United and West Ham United were both walloped in Nanjing, and old hands Steve Bruce and Manuel Pellegrini would be happy to massage a victory out of their men.
Then Pep Guardiola and PL champions City get a taste of Wolves before their Oct. 5 meeting in league play.
Below is the full schedule for Saturday’s games in Shanghai’s Hongkou Stadium.
Newcastle United v. West Ham United – 5 a.m. ET – STREAM LIVE
Man City v. Wolves – 7:30 a.m. ET – STREAM LIVE
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is walking it like he talks it, not that that’s anything new.
A few days after claiming superiority over LAFC superstar Carlos Vela, Ibrahimovic and his Galaxy trailed early in El Trafico via a Vela penalty.
[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]
Naturally, Zlatan took it upon himself to answer the bell with his 14th goal in 17 games.
Ibrahimovic chests a long ball onto his right foot, cooking Eduard Atuesta by pushing it into position for a tremendous lash into the LAFC goal.
And if you haven’t been following LAFC’s amazing season, Atuesta’s probably been the side’s best player after Vela, who now has 20 goals in 20 games.
A half-hour of the big guns wasn’t enough to get Jurgen Klopp a result against his former team.
Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster scored for Liverpool in a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund at the University of Notre Dame on Friday.
Paco Alcacer, Thomas Delaney, and Jacob Bruun Larsen scored for the Black Yellow, who led 3-1 when mass changes began with Virgil Van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, and Andrew Robertson entering the match.
Liverpool faces Sevilla on Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston.
[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]
Alcacer with the ball in the box is a bad idea, and the Spaniard took advantage of Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Matip to smash home from a yard outside the six.
Wilson leveled the score before halftime, but Delaney made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute when a long diagonal ball beat the Reds line and a low pass across the box went undetected.
It was 3-1 via a clever Bruun Larsen touch to wrong foot James Milner, but Brewster brought the Reds back to within one when he converted a 75th minute penalty won by Ben Woodburn.
Liverpool was without Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, who are on break after deep summer tournament runs.
Christian Eriksen may trade London for Madrid after all, but Marca claims it’ll be Real Madrid’s rivals who earn the services of Tottenham’s Danish playmaker.
Eriksen, 27, scored 10 goals with 17 assists for Spurs in all competitions last season, and was reportedly ready to spread his wings for Real Madrid.
[ MORE: Kean to Everton? ]
But pro-Real site Marca says Zinedine Zidane doesn’t want Eriksen at the Bernabeu, and that Diego Simeone feels differently… should Atletico Madrid fail at landing his prime option.
That’s James Rodriguez, who remains property of Real and that’s a problem.
So Eriksen to Atleti, helping to replace Antoine Griezmann? It’s possible.
Just last November, the London club put a 250 million euro price tag on his head, but now appear keen to move him on. The next few days will likely reveal a lot about what’s to come.
So we may get an idea of whether this report has any guts to it by next week. There could be some sense to it, but Metro claims that Spurs are offering Eriksen an “enormous” contract to keep him in North London.
Enormous means a doubling of Eriksen’s wages, and the Dane is said to be happy in England. Might Spurs hold off the finest of La Liga and Serie A after all.