Michael Ballack has a warning for Eden Hazard amid Real Madrid rumours
Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has warned Blues midfielder Eden Hazard that he could be making a big mistake if he tries to force through a move to Real Madrid this summer.
Chelsea No.10 Hazard has been back to his brilliant best in recent months after a slump in form last season contributed to the demise of Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian’s resurgence under new boss Antonio Conte has fuelled rumours of an £80m summer move to Real Madrid, but Ballack told ESPN that Hazard may be taking a gamble on his future if he decides to leave Chelsea.
“Hazard has a decision to make and he needs to consider what he would be walking away from at Chelsea if he moves to Real Madrid now,” stated Ballack, speaking at a BT Sport event.
“Right now, Hazard is the top player at one of the biggest clubs in Europe, living in a fantastic city. Does he want to give all that up and then try to be a success at Real Madrid?
“He should realise that he can be the top player for another few years at Chelsea. It has taken time for him to establish himself at this level at Chelsea and he will need to start again if he moves to Real Madrid.
“I can’t give him advice on this. It is not just about a lot of money, even though that does count in a decision for every player. If we just speak about football, he has signed for Chelsea for a long time and he will not have the standing he has now at any other top club. This should be important for him.”
Ballack admits he cannot explain why Hazard’s form has been transformed since Mourinho’s sacking at Chelsea, but he suggested the power top players now have to influence decision makers at their club is growing.
“There must have been a reason why he was playing like he was last season,” Ballack said. “He seemed to be that a player like Hazard was unhappy on the pitch.
“Only he can explain the reasons, whether it was the other players or what seemed like his coach. Maybe he had some private problems, we never know.
“This season it is completely a different player. Suddenly, he loves football again, he has freedom. It is difficult for the rest of us to know why. He played in a position that suits him, he had the same players around him as this season, but the performances were so different.
“Sometimes players are sensitive these days. If they feel misunderstood or if they are not getting what they want, they have the power to play below their best. Players have a power now and managers don’t always have enough to control them, this is true.
“All we can say so far is that he is fantastic this season and it seems to be working for him again.”