Report: Hazard Joins Neymar, Mbappe as Possible Cristiano Ronaldo Replacement

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Eden Hazard of Chelsea during The Emirates FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on May 19, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Real Madrid are reportedly considering Eden Hazard as a possible replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, with Paris Saint-Germain pair Kylian Mbappe and Neymar said to be difficult to attain as things stand.

According to Manu de Juan of AS, with Ronaldo set to join Juventus, the European champions have been considering potential new additions. Mbappe and Neymar are both said to be on their radar, although a deal may be tough to do for either given they only moved to Paris a year ago and neither have clauses in their contracts.

With that in mind, Chelsea star Hazard is said to be a "Plan C" for Los Blancos when it comes to filling the void that'd potentially be left if Ronaldo was to move on. 

Madrid are said to have been impressed by the performances of Hazard at the FIFA World Cup, where he has been in exceptional form for Belgium. The forward's performances have been key to the team making it to the semi-finals of the competition.

"One potential snag could be Hazard's erratic form for Chelsea, where he has gone missing for weeks on end and not always maintained the consistency required. ... That said, if Madrid do decide to try to make it happen, Hazard is likely to try to push the deal through," De Juan noted. 

It's added that Hazard's contract with Chelsea is set to expire in 2020, meaning they are under no immediate pressure to sell their No. 10.

After Hazard starred against Neymar and Brazil in Belgium's 2-1 win over the Selecao, journalist Tom Williams said he could see a scenario where the Chelsea man ends up at the Santiago Bernabeu:

Tom Williams @tomwfootball

Neymar’s mood is not going to be improved when Real Madrid sign Hazard instead of him to replace Ronaldo and he’s stuck arguing over penalties with Cavani at PSG.

In addition, James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph suggested Hazard may be a better fit for Madrid than the Paris Saint-Germain star:

James Ducker @TelegraphDucker

Wonder if Real Madrid are thinking they’d be far better going for Eden Hazard over Neymar. Sensational but a complete team player too. No me, me, me, me #bel #bra

As noted in the AS report, Hazard has made it no secret in the past that he has admiration for the La Liga giants. If they were to come in for him before the end of the transfer window, then you imagine he'd be up for the challenge.

After all, the winger has proved himself as one of the best players in the Premier League down the years, twice helping the Blues to the title during his time at the club. Hazard can play across the front line, with his touch, turn of pace and composure in the final third making him almost impossible to contain.

These numbers sum up just how devastating Hazard can be when he is in the mood:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Hazard's 10 take-ons were the most by a player with an 100% success-rate in a single #WorldCup game (since 1966). You're a wizard, Hazard. 🧙 https://t.co/2JlpQlVopX

If Ronaldo does leave Madrid after nine years, he will be impossible to replace. The Portuguese is one of the all-time greats at the Santiago Bernabeu, becoming Real's top scorer and winning four UEFA Champions League titles during his stint.

Hazard is stylistically different to Ronaldo, and Los Blancos would surely need to bring in a more natural goalscorer in addition to the Belgian. Still, the Chelsea man is an extraordinary talent, and if Madrid do hold serious interest in him, there will be plenty in the Spanish capital getting excited about seeing him in the all-white jersey.