Eden Hazard has played his last game for Chelsea and had a special farewell courtesy his brace to win the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League. He now looks forward to join Real Madrid.
Eden Hazard put in a typically brilliant display in what looks certain to be his last appearance for Chelsea in Wednesday’s Europa League final against Arsenal. The Belgium international’s contract at Stamford Bridge will expire at the end of next season and Real Madrid are the clear favourites for his signature. After the Blues’ closing Premier League outing at Leicester City, Hazard said he had made up his mind and informed the club of his decision, but no official announcement on his future has been made. Following his two-goal display in Chelsea’s 4-1 win in Baku, Hazard confirmed the game was likely his farewell match after seven years at the club. He confirmed his Chelsea exit and it looks certain that Real Madrid is his next destination.
Hazard said in a post-match interview: “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. During the past seven seasons, I was always happy, there are ups and downs, but the pleasure of playing football is still there. And when we win trophies it’s always good for everyone.
We will decide in a few days [on my future] 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. In the next few days, my departure will be official. I think it was my last game, it’s between clubs right now, I cannot talk about it yet … I hope to face Lille and Chelsea in the Champions League next season.
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.”
Eden Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012. He quickly adapted to the Premier League and became of the Premier League’s best. He has won two Premier League and two Europa League at Chelsea and also the FA Cup and EFL Cup.
In his seven years at the club, Hazard made 352 appearances across all competitions. He has scored 110 goals and provided 81 assists. He is also the third all-time highest goal scorer in the Premier League for Chelsea with 85 goals. The 2018-19 season was Hazard’s best in terms of goals for Chelsea. He scored 21 goals across all competitions. Hazard’s best campaign for assists was 2012-13 when he created 19 goals. This term he laid on 17, with 15 coming in the Premier League to make him the most creative player across Europe’s top five leagues. The Belgian attempted (1,441) and complete (909) more dribbles than any other Premier League player since the start of the 2012-13 season.
Chelsea captain Azpilicueta told beIN Sports: “It’s a big loss for us, as a player and as a person. We came here together seven years ago, we have won six trophies, it’s been amazing on and off the pitch for me. I can only wish him the best because he’s a very good friend of mine. The desire he’s shown on the pitch for the club, his behaviour as the star man, I think everybody in the club loves him.
Honestly, the times that he had to cope with the rumours, always going, they put him in a lot of teams. He always showed his desire not to sign for an English team, even if he could have a better contract. He has never been a selfish person, he always had this dream to play for Real Madrid and we will see what happens but I think he has been very honest until the last day. That’s why the fans, they love him, because he didn’t play with the club, he didn’t push for another contract, just always give his best, he was very clear with the club and that’s why the club is so happy with him.
It’s a big opportunity for him. He’s been amazing for us and I hope he still wins trophies with Real Madrid. [It’s] very sad, amazing person, amazing player, has been a very important part of our team. A good friend of mine, very close, we arrived seven years ago together from France and if that moment comes, obviously, I’ll be very sad.”
Hazard’s Chelsea teammate, Kante said: “It’s not sad. I think Eden did an amazing job, had an amazing time with Chelsea. He stayed here a long time, he won many trophies. He played amazing tonight [in the Europa League final]. We are happy for him.
I don’t know what is going to happen next, but we can only wish him the best because he did a lot for Chelsea. It was a pleasure to play with him and we’ll see what happens.”
Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri said in a press conference: “As you know, Hazard is a wonderful player, but you have to spend two or three months to understand him as a man. But when you are able to understand him as a man, he’s a wonderful man. I knew. I knew that Eden wanted to leave, of course. But, as I said in every press conference, I wanted to respect his decision. And now I have to speak to my club.”
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is hoping Chelsea star Eden Hazard joins the LaLiga giants in the off-season. He will be welcomed with open hearts at the Bernabeu. Perez said: “We’ve been trying for a number of years to make Hazard a Real Madrid player, but we haven’t achieved it yet. I’d really like Hazard to come to Real Madrid and really hope he does. He is one of the best footballers.”
It is set to be a busy transfer window for Real Madrid, with head coach Zinedine Zidane poised to overhaul a side that finished third in LaLiga and bowed out of the Champions League in the last 16.
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