Joe Prince-Wright, NBC Sports
Eden Hazard is heading to Real Madrid.
Reports from multiple outlets say that Chelsea and Real Madrid have made a breakthrough in negotiations on Thursday, as Real officials have been in London talking to the Premier League club about buying Hazard.
The 28-year-old, who has just one year left on his current contract at Chelsea, will join Real for an initial fee of $112 million, as multiple add-ons now agreed could take the deal to over $165 million.
Yes, Chelsea are losing their influential playmaker, but this deal is as good as they could have got.
It is expected that Real are making plans to make an announcement as soon as early next week as Hazard is currently on international duty with Belgium.
Hazard has pretty much already said his goodbyes to Chelsea after he starred in their UEFA Europa League final victory against Arsenal on May 29.
In the past seven seasons at Chelsea he has won the Premier League title twice, the FA Cup, League Cups and two Europa League trophies.
Hazard is a long-time admirer of Zinedine Zidane, and ever since the French legend returned to take charge of Real Madrid this move was all but a done deal.
Real have had to pay a huge fee for a player who they could sign for free from January 2020 and play for them from July 2020, but given the ground they lost to both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid over the 2018-19 season — Real finished third in La Liga and were dumped out of the UEFA Champions League by Ajax at the Round of 16 stage — they just couldn’t wait to start their rebuild.
Hazard will be key to a new-look Real side and he has handled this situation in the correct manner. He has never told Chelsea fans he is definitely staying and has never dropped his levels in both effort and quality on the pitch.
Chelsea have also got a pretty phenomenal deal all things considered, but there is now extra pressure on USMNT star Christian Pulisic who will be Chelsea’s only new arrival until July 2020 due to their current transfer ban from FIFA. The Blues are currently appealing that ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but as things stand, Pulisic will be the main to try and fill the void left by Hazard. No pressure…
As for Hazard’s new club, the Belgian wizard will grace the Santiago Bernabeu with ease and will take over the mantle as the star man who will lead the charge against Barcelona and Lionel Messi.
Losing Hazard is a blow for the Premier League and Chelsea, and for Real Madrid it’s the first piece of the jigsaw in a much-needed rebuild under Zidane.