Saturday 25 November 2017

Chelsea star Eden Hazard ready to snub PSG in favour of Real Madrid

Eden Hazard (PA)
Eden Hazard (PA)

Matt Law

Eden Hazard believes Real Madrid are the only club that can prevent him from starting next season at Chelsea.

Forward Hazard appeared to open the door to the possibility of joining Paris Saint-Germain last week, but Telegraph Sport understands the Belgian is prepared to stay at Chelsea unless Real come in for him.

The prospect of Real launching a summer bid big enough to tempt Chelsea into selling last season’s Player of the Year Hazard has seemed remote over recent weeks.

But the 25-year-old offered encouragement he could be heading to somewhere near his best form with a goalscoring performance against Manchester City in the FA Cup.

Hazard is understood to be confident he can now finish the season strongly as he regains full match fitness from the groin injury that kept him out for three weeks, having also suffered a hip problem.

Whether or not a strong end to the season would be enough to reignite Real’s interest is unclear and the Spanish club are appealing against a transfer ban that could stretch over two windows.

Since fluttering his eyelids towards PSG, Hazard has told friends that he believes he is likely to play for Chelsea next season unless Real make a push to take him to La Liga.

Hazard’s childhood idol was Real manager Zinedine Zidane, who remains a big fan of the player despite his poor form and could tempt him away from Stamford Bridge.

The FA Cup fifth-round tie against City was the 442nd game Hazard has played in his nine seasons as a professional and the slump he has been going through is the first of his career.

Hazard’s confidence was clearly knocked by his poor form, something team-mate Cesc Fabregas alluded to after the forward scored just his second goal of the season against City, but allowed Oscar to take a penalty which the Brazilian missed.

 “I told him (Hazard) you have to take it (the penalty),” said Fabregas. “If you score one you have to want more.”

The victory over City meant interim manager Guus Hiddink has guided Chelsea into the last eight of the FA Cup while the club remain unbeaten in the Premier League under the Dutchman and still have a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

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