Earlier this week Chelsea star Eden Hazard sent shockwaves throughout the world of football after announcing that he knows what he is going to do at the end of this season.
The Belgian has been linked with a move away from Chelsea for a number of years now, most frequently with Real Madrid, who are also the favourites to sign him. Hazard told French radio station RMC earlier this week: “I know what I am going to do. I have made my decision,” sparking speculation that he is headed for the Bernabeu.
Should he leave, it would be a huge blow to Chelsea and their ambitions moving forward, with Hazard being their attacking talisman and crucial to the way in which Maurizio Sarri wants his team to play.
The Sarri appointment was likely made in order to try and keep Hazard at the club, with the Italian bringing an attacking, progressive philosophy with him to Stamford Bridge, contradicting the pragmatic ways of Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte of years gone by.
However, the Italian’s standing at the club isn’t particularly strong, with the team currently battling it out for a place in the top four and Sarri has already publicly called out his players, saying they are tough to motivate. But should Hazard swap the Premier League for La Liga this summer?
Now or never
In terms of timing, this seems like the prime opportunity for Hazard to move to Real Madrid. He is now 28-years-old and in the prime of his career, having scored 12 goals and provided 10 assists in 21 starts for Chelsea in the Premier League.
As such, he is already just five goals away from beating his best ever return in a league campaign for Chelsea, whilst being two assists shy of doing the same in his production of goals for teammates.
Hazard was also one of the standout players at the 2018 World Cup, demonstrating to all that he is capable of performing on the biggest of stages when focused and determined to do so.
There were rumours circulating that he could be on his way to Madrid last summer, but doing so in 2019 makes far more sense. Should he join later this year, he would do so a year removed from Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit from the Bernabeu, relieing any potential added pressure that would come with being his direct replacement.
Hazard is a much different player to Ronaldo and comparisons between the two - and most prevalently their numbers - would be unfair to say the least considering what the Portuguese forward achieved in his time at the club.
Madrid also look set to rebuild their side next season after what has ultimately been a disappointing campaign for them so far in 2018/19. They currently trail Barcelona by eight points at the top of the La Liga table, having lost six of their first 22 games and look set to miss out on the title for the sixth time in the last seven years.
There is space for a new Galactico at Madrid this summer and Hazard certainly fits the bill.What also should not be forgotten is the factor of Champions League football, with Chelsea competing in the Europa League this season after failing to finish in the top four last time out. A player of Hazard’s quality should perennially figure in Europe’s elite club competition and his current side still aren’t guaranteed of a place in the competition for next season.
Should they again miss out on the top four and fail to win the Europa League, it would be no surprise to see Hazard depart as he looks to add a Champions League winners medal to his impressive collection of honours. And where better to go than Madrid to chase it, who have been crowned European champions in each of the last three seasons and four of the last five years.
Making a case to stay
Still, as great as the lure of Madrid is, it’s not as if Hazard has a particularly poor situation where he currently is.
Hazard is loved by Chelsea fans and already heralded as an all-time great player for the club, and refuting interest from the rest of Europe would only further endear him to the club and their fans.
If he were to join Madrid, it’s almost impossible that he would receive the same level of adulation. Look at Gareth Bale, who despite winning the Champions League on four separate occasions - scoring in two of the finals - is still something of a polarising figure to Madrid fans and came under intense scrutiny in his second season.
Another player to carefully consider is Philippe Coutinho, who like Hazard was the talisman of his team before leaving Liverpool to join Barcelona in January 2018. Coutinho has struggled to settle at the Nou Camp and truly show his best form, whilst the Brazilian also missed out on a run to the Champions League final in which he could’ve been a decisive figure in the outcome of the game.
It really comes down to whether or not Hazard wants that added pressure or not. Put simply, there’s no way he could go a whole calendar year without a league goal like he did at Chelsea and get away with it at Madrid.
Regardless of that dry spell where he seemed to completely give up in the 2015/16 season, Chelsea fans still worship him and tipex that out of his history with the club. That would certainly not be the case at the Bernabeu.
It’s also important to remember that although Hazard says his mind his made up, he has given no indication as to what his decision may be. Back in December, he appeared to state his desire to stay with Chelsea after surpassing 100 goals for the club.
He said: "Scoring 101 goals with this amazing club is something I will never forget, but now I think the fans, the staff, myself, the players, we want more."I want to score more for this club and then try to be a legend like [Frank] Lampard, [John] Terry, [Didier] Drogba, I try to do my best. But when we are winning we can enjoy a lot."
It’s a huge decision for Hazard to make, but one that will be incredibly difficult to turn down should Madrid come calling. Come what may this summer he will go down as a Chelsea legend, having won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League in his stint already, with the potential of adding to that this season.
The chance to be the star player in a rebuild for a club the size of Los Blancos doesn’t come around too often and, should he pass up on it, may well wonder ‘what if’ for the rest of his life.
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY. ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 2 X £10 BET TOKENS. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS EXCLUDE VIRTUALS. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS. FURTHER T&CS APPLY. 18+. BEGAMBLEAWARE.ORG
Money Back as Cash up to £20!
New customers only. Deposit £20 using Debit Card or Trustly. Up to your first £20 of losses will be refunded as CASH within 24 hours of qualifying bet having been settled. T&Cs apply. 18+.
♥️ GET £40 FREE PLAY PLUS A £10 FREE SPORTS BET! ♥️
1st time depositors only. Min. deposit £10. Use code FAPOKER. Free Play given as cash, Spin & Go tickets, and a Sports Free Bet over 6 days. Tickets expire after 24 hours. Withdrawal restricted during bonus period. Terms apply.
🔥 BET £10 ON FOOTBALL & GET £50 IN FREE BETS!!!! 🔥
Place a pre-match £10 bet on any Football market between 2nd December and 24th December, at min. odds 1/2 (1.5) — get a total of £50 in free bets, £30 on bet settlement and an additional £20 the following day. Your qualifying bet must settle by Friday 23:59, 24th December. Only deposits via Cards will qualify (Apple Pay deposit excluded). T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly. 18+.
⚪️ Get £50 FREE BETS when you bet £10 (mobile only) ⚪️
18+. Play Safe. New customers who register via mobile only, using Promo code H50 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 5 x £10/€10, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. See full terms below.
🔥 BET £10 ON ANY SPORT & GET £20 IN FREE BETS 🔥
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit,: £10, max £20 free bets valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. begambleaware.org.
🤩 BET £10 AT MANSION BET AND GET A £10 FREE BET 🤩
New customers only. Min deposit and bet £10 (£20 if E/W bet) from UK debit card only. Min odds evens (1/5 per leg in multi selection). £10 Free Bet vaild for 7 days, stake not returned, no Cash Out, max winnings £5k. T&C’s apply. 18+.
🏆 Money Back as CASH up to £20 if your first bet loses! 🏆
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your first bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £/€20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+.
GET A £20 FREE BET WHEN YOU BET £20 ON ANY SPORT!!!! 😍😍😍
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. STRICTLY 18+. MINIMUM DEPOSIT £20. PLACE ANY £20 SPORTSBOOK BET AT MINIMUM ODDS OF 2.0(EVENS) TO RECEIEVE YOUR FREE £20 BET. YOUR £20 FREE BET MUST BE WAGERED TWICE (X2) AT MINIMUM ODDS OF 2.0(EVENS) BEFORE IT BECOMES CASH. IF YOUR FIRST £20 BET WINS, YOU HAVE TO BET £20 AGAIN TWICE AT MIN ODDS OF 2.0(EVENS) OR HIGHER TO TURN THE £20 FREE BET IN TO CASH. BUT YOU DO WIN CASH ON YOUR FIRST BET IF IT WINS - IT'S THE £20 BONUS THAT IS LOCKED UNTIL MINIMUM WAGERING REQUIREMENTS ARE MET.
⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
Open account offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
GET A £30 MATCHED FREE BET IF YOUR FIRST FOOTBALL ACCA LOSES!!!! 🙌🙌🙌
New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+ BeGambleAware.org Full terms apply. 18+.
🌟 Bet £5 & get £30 in bonuses! 🌟
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
🏆 Money Back as CASH up to £20 if your first bet loses 🏆
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Betfair account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your first bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £/€20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
🏇🏼 BET £10 ON ANY RACE TODAY & GET £40 IN FREE BETS! 🏇🏼
Sign-up via Mobile using promo code N40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more and we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets. By entering the Promo code in the box above you agree to the full terms and conditions of this promotion as displayed below. See full terms below.