Eden Hazard must quit Chelsea to reach the top says former Blues star Boudewijn Zenden

Sport & Transfer News

Eden Hazard has to quit Chelsea for Real Madrid or Barcelona if he ever wants to be counted among the true greats of the game.

That’s the view of former Chelsea , Liverpool and Barca star Bolo Zenden .

Despite wanting the Belgian to stay at Stamford Bridge, Zenden accepts that Hazard has no choice but to leave if he wants to stand any chance of winning the Ballon d’Or.

“It will be hard for Chelsea to keep him, with Barcelona, Real ­Madrid and Paris Saint-­Germain around,” said Zenden.

Eden Hazard of Belgium takes on Edimilson Fernandes of Switzerland

“He needs a move to ­Barcelona or Madrid to be up there, classed with the best in the world.

“Yes, he has done it in England. But with that platform of having played for the likes of ­Barcelona or Real, that is what they look for when they decide the player of the year.”

Even though Hazard has made no secret of his desire to join Real – which he describes as “the best club in the world” – PSV ­Eindhoven assistant boss Zenden insists it will still take a ­gargantuan fee to land the 27-year-old.

Zenden added: “If you see Neymar going for £198million, Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo around £100m, then he will be up there as one of the biggest fees in history – and he should be.”

Eden Hazard in action for Belgium against Michael Lang of Switzerland

Hazard has been consistently linked with a move to Real over the years, but it was his ­comments at the end of this summer’s World Cup which sparked real concerns then that he might be leaving Stamford Bridge within weeks.

“It might be time to discover something different,” Hazard said, after ­Belgium’s semi-final defeat by France.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has since admitted he had three weeks of worry that Hazard would quit the Blues.

Zenden accepts that Hazard must move on if he wants to reach the ­dizziest of heights on offer in the domestic game.

Hazard shows Nico Elvedi a clean set of heels

But he would love it if the player did stay in south-west London, and not just because of his contribution on the pitch.

He said: “It’s vital for them to keep him. He has incredible quality, he is a happy chap to have around the place, a ­brilliant professional and good in the dressing room.

“All in all, he is just ­a ­really good guy, as well as being a great player.”

Hazard, whose Chelsea contract ends in 2020, spoke as recently as last Sunday of his desire to play for Madrid one day.

Eden Hazard during the UEFA Nations league match between Belgium and Switzerland

He said: “Real Madrid are the best club in the world. I don’t want to lie today. It is my dream since I was a kid. I was dreaming about this club.

“We will see. I don’t want to talk about this every day, I don’t have time.

“But we will talk about my ­future soon. I don’t want to say, ‘Yes, I am signing a new contract’, and then, in the end, I don’t end up signing.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard celebrates scoring their first goal with Willian and team mates

“I want what’s good for me, but I want what’s good for the club, because the club has given me everything.

“So I will see. Sometimes, in my head, I wake up in the morning and think I want to go. Sometimes I think I want to stay.

“It’s a hard decision. It is my future.”


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