MX23RW : Monday, December 17 12:57:34

Hazard appears to rule out January move away from Chelsea

The midfielder is on international duty and was speaking during a Belgium press conference.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard did little to douse speculation over a move to Real Madrid on Thursday, although the forward appeared to rule out a mid-season move.

The 27-year-old, who has spoken of his daily quandary over his future, was speaking at a media conference on national team duty with Belgium, broadcast on Sky Sports News.

It was put to Hazard that to win the Ballon d’Or – as the world’s best player – he would have to play in Spain.

“That’s why I want to go, maybe,” said Hazard, who was smiling.

Asked if that move might happen in January, Hazard said: “No.”

Eden Hazard believes he is the best player in the world on form
Eden Hazard believes he is the best player in the world on form (Tim Goode/PA Images)

Hazard has been in sparkling form this season and was asked about persistent rumours of a switch to Real after last Sunday’s win at Southampton.

Hazard, whose Chelsea contract runs until June 2020, said: “Real Madrid is the best club in the world. It is my dream since I was a kid.

“Sometimes in my head, I wake up in the morning and think I want to go. Sometimes I think I want to stay. It is a hard decision. It is my future.”

The Belgium playmaker is not short of confidence at present and asked on Thursday whether he was the world’s best player on form, his answer was unequivocal.

“Yes,” he said.

“The team is helping me a lot also. I can improve for sure. We can always improve in football. We can score more goals, more assists.”

Hazard has scored seven Premier League goals in eight starts, plus a sensational strike in the Carabao Cup third round win at Liverpool, to make a fine start to life under Blues head coach Maurizio Sarri.

He joined Chelsea in June 2012 from Lille. His current contract, signed in February 2015, runs until the end of next season.

Hazard acknowledges this next contract is crucial, so he is taking his time to consider whether to remain with Chelsea or move on.

He was heavily linked with a move to the Bernabeu after helping Belgium to third place at the World Cup, but no switch materialised.

Reports from Spain earlier this week suggested Real would try to prise Hazard from Chelsea in January, although such a move would come at a premium price.

Antonio Conte, right, and Eden Hazard appeared to have a strained relationship at times last season
Antonio Conte, right, and Eden Hazard appeared to have a strained relationship at times last season (Andrew Matthews/PA Images)

And it may be that Real would be prepared to wait until next summer, when Hazard will have just 12 months of his contract remaining, to make their move, knowing Chelsea would be reluctant to risk losing him for nothing the following year.

One of the many potential obstacles to the deal would be if Antonio Conte moved to Real as head coach.

Julen Lopetegui’s position is reportedly precarious and Conte has been linked as a potential successor. Hazard hinted at being frustrated with the Italian at times last season.


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1714303773045
2Manchester CityMan City17142148103844
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs17130431161539
4Chelsea17114235142137
5Arsenal17104337231434
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd177552929026
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester CityLeicester176472121022
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton176382024-421
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff CityCardiff1742111733-1614
17Southampton172691632-1612
18Burnley1733111533-1812
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1724111028-1810
20Fulham1723121642-269

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