Whoever says that one match doesn't determine a club's future might want to reassess that claim.
Over the summer transfer window, one of the most sought-after commodities was budding superstar midfielder Eden Hazard. The 21-year-old Belgian eventually left his club, Ligue 1's Lille, for the Premier League and Chelsea.
However, in an interview with the Daily Mail on Monday, Hazard indicated that he was tempted to go to Tottenham instead of Chelsea:
It’s true that Tottenham tempted me because it was a young team which was third in the league.
Unfortunately, the end of the season did not go well. They did not reach the Champions League, which tipped the balance.
Nobody was really a fan of Chelsea’s game last season.
The directors told me they were going to recruit good players with whom I could play decent football. Marko Marin, Oscar and me, we like to have the ball at our feet. Juan Mata likes the ball, so does Ramires. The title of European champions, and Champions League qualification, counted for a lot because the club was not doing well in the league. Once Chelsea won the final, it was a natural choice.
Now, Spurs' fall from third to fourth was gradual, as it happened over the course of the final 13 or so matches. However, Hazard made it clear that Tottenham's failure to attain Champions League football was the tipping point.
In any other season, Spurs' fourth place finish would have guaranteed them a spot in the Champions League. So why did they not get it? The extenuating circumstance was Chelsea's Champions League victory, which gave them the fourth English spot over Tottenham.
Thus, Chelsea did not just win the 2011-12 Champions League and a spot in the 2012-13 competition against Bayern Munich in May: the Blues won Eden Hazard.
Incredibly, one penalty kick, scored by a guy who no longer plays for Chelsea no less, determined the future of two clubs.
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