Eden Hazard

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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.

Report: Chelsea sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid a done deal

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According to a report by French publication L’Equipe, Chelsea has completed the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid for a fee of $113 million, and the deal will be announced following the Europa League final.

The report states that the deal was agreed to weeks ago and has been finalized, and the Spanish club has come to an agreement on personal terms with the player and his representatives.

Hazard has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid over the past six months and appeared to say his goodbyes to Chelsea fans and staffers over the last two weeks of the Premier League season. Following the season-ending draw with Leicester City on Sunday, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri said fans must “respect his decision” when asked about Hazard’s future. Hazard himself said on Sunday he has already made his decision and made the club aware.

The sum of money is significant given that Hazard is approaching the final season of his contract and therefore Chelsea lacked leverage in the negotiations. The Blues will hope to be able to reinvest that transfer fee to shore up some holes in the squad, but a transfer ban is looming, with the appeal process currently ongoing, leaving the status of their summer in question. Chelsea has already locked up Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic who will arrive this summer to help cushion the blow of Hazard’s likely departure.

According to the L’Equipe report, Hazard will sign a six-year deal at Real Madrid, keeping him under team control until the summer of 2025, when he will be 34 years old.

Hazard spent seven seasons at Chelsea, arriving from French club Lille in the summer of 2012. He made 351 appearances for the Blues, scoring 108 goals and assisting 91 more. He won the Premier League title twice and was named Premier League Player of the Season in the 2014/15 campaign. Hazard won the Playmaker of the Season award this season, leading the league with 15 assists.

Sarri says Chelsea fans must respect Hazard decision

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Maurizio Sarri stopped short of saying Eden Hazard was on his way out of Stamford Bridge this summer, but he came very close.

Speaking after a 0-0 draw with Leicester City that brought the Blues’ Premier League season to a close, Sarri said Chelsea fans need to appreciate the time Hazard spent at the club and understand he may want to move on.

[ MORE: Chelsea draws Leicester | Klopp proud ]

“I know very well that Eden tried to do his best for seven seasons at Chelsea,” Sarri said after the match. “He did very well, he has become one of the best two or three players in the world, but I think also that we have to respect him and his decision.”

There are rumors flying of Hazard’s impending move to Real Madrid this summer, so much so that some consider it a foregone conclusions. All signs point in that direction, with Hazard’s contract set to expire next summer and no extension reached as of yet, Chelsea’s purchase of USMNT star Christian Pulisic as well as Madrid’s reported shopping of Gareth Bale.

“I hope of course, like every fan of Chelsea, that he will remain with us,” Sarri added about Hazard. “But at the moment I don’t know.”

If this is indeed Hazard’s last season in London, he would finish his Chelsea career with 352 appearances across all competitions (including the upcoming Europa League final), scoring 108 goals and assisting 91 more. Hazard won the Premier League title with the Blues twice in 2014/15 and 2016/17, winning the Premier League Player of the Season award in the 2014/15 campaign as well. This season, he won the league’s assist title – named the Playmaker of the Season – racking up 15 assists to lead the league. He also won the Europa League once with Chelsea and has the opportunity to do so again with the upcoming final.

The 28-year-old came off the bench in the final league game of the year for the last 25 minutes against Leicester City, with Sarri admitting he rested Hazard as the Europa League final looms.

Reports: Real Madrid pursuing both Hazard and Pogba

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Eden Hazard isn’t the only Premier League player Real Madrid is seriously considering pursuing this summer.

According to two reports from Marca, which often has a tight connection with Real Madrid’s front office, Real Madrid is both in advanced discussions with Eden Hazard’s representatives, as well as thinking about signing Paul Pogba this summer.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Marca report on Hazard states Chelsea is requesting a $156.5 million transfer fee for the Belgian international. The report adds that initially Real Madrid scoffed at the bid, but after the season the club has had, they’ve settled for having to spend a boatload of cash for Hazard.

That complicates things for Real Madrid’s pursuit of Pogba. Per Marca, Zinedine Zidane has requested Real Madrid attempt to sign the Manchester United midfielder, but Man United reportedly won’t accept anything less than $223 million, much more than Real Madrid is willing to spend on one player. Combine that with Hazard’s fee, and it seems near impossible.

It’s not clear exactly how both players will work in Zidane’s system, regardless. Pogba could be successful if he plays alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in midfield, but that may leave Casemiro out of the fold, which could hurt the balance of Real Madrid’s lineup.

Additionally, while Hazard will be a boost for the team, Vinicius Jr. has already been terrific as a left winger and truly, the team needs a better striker up top, and we’ve seen Hazard struggle when playing as a false nine.

Regardless, it will be sad for the Premier League to lose two of its most talented, marketable stars, should they leave this summer.

Neymar banned by UEFA; wants to play with Hazard

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Neymar will miss half of the UEFA Champions League group stage next season after being banned three games by European soccer’s governing body for insulting match officials.

[ MORE: Pogba, Hazard to Real?

The Brazilian superstar, 27, sent out abusive messages on Instagram after his Paris Saint-Germain side lost 3-1 late on at home against Manchester United to crash out at the Round of 16 stage.

He sent the following message after the shocking defeat at the Parc des Princes on Mar. 14 which saw United awarded a penalty kick in the 90th minute via VAR with Presnel Kimpembe adjudged to have handled.

“This is a disgrace. They put four people that know nothing about football in charge of looking at the replay for VAR. There is no penalty. How can it be a handball when it hits his back! Go f*** yourselves!”

Neymar was watching the game from the stands and has spent a large chunk of this season and last season out injured for Les Parisiens.

In more Neymar news, he has suggested a linkup with Belgian star Eden Hazard is possible.

The latter has been linked with a move to Real Madrid this summer and so too has Neymar considering his struggles on and off the pitch at PSG.

“I would like to play with Hazard. He has a style similar to mine,” Neymar said. “I think I could give it a try. We would cause havoc together!”

That they would. But where? That is the big question and although Neymar could mean PSG, it’s clear the hint is Real Madrid.

With Real Madrid lining up a huge overhaul of their squad under Zinedine Zidane, Neymar, Hazard and Paul Pogba at the Santiago Bernabeu would certainly freshen things up. Neymar doesn’t have a release clause in his current contract with PSG which runs until the summer of 2022, and despite his inconsistent form and spate of injuries, the French giants would still expect to demand a fee of over $250 million for his services.

Would Real pay that much for him? Probably not. But where there’s a will on both parts, there’s a way, and it seems like that is increasingly the case.