Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard has continued his flirtation with Real Madrid after again calling reappointed manager Zinedine Zidane his idol, adding that it was because of the Frenchman he started playing football.
The Belgium winger has been frequently linked with Los Blancos over the past year and fed the speculation again after he told reporters just how much of an inspiration Zidane has been to him.
When asked who he preferred out of Real boss Zidane and Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, he said "As a player there's no comparison, I have so much respect for Zidane, he's my idol. It's thanks to him I started playing. But for the victories we've achieved with Martinez I'd go with Martinez."
Those comments came after Hazard, 28, told VTM News (h/t Sky Sports) earlier this week that he was concentrating on Chelsea and Belgium for the next few months, adding: "Then we'll see."
The winger hasn't hidden his admiration of Real or Zidane in the past and said in 2017 that he wanted to play under the Frenchman, a dream that could come true as his Chelsea contract expires in June 2020.
Zidane recently moved back to the Santiago Bernabeu after only 10 months away and replaced Santiago Solari at the helm. Journalist Carrie Brown discussed his return with beIN Sports and how it could be the decisive factor that delivers Hazard:
Chelsea know their most valuable asset likely wants a move to Madrid, while their own summer fate is uncertain as they face a possible transfer ban, per BBC Sport.
Their efforts to sign a replacement would be hampered should the suspension be upheld after appeal, while Real are likely eager to invest in their squad and show commitment to Zidane.
The silver lining for Chelsea is that Real have at least been associated with other potential recruits, per journalist Kristof Terreur:
Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 @HLNinEngeland
Every day another name is added to Zinedine Zidane’s wishlist: ✔️Eden Hazard ✔️Neymar ✔️Kylian Mbappé ✔️Sadio Mané ✔️Raheem Sterling ✔️David De Gea ✔️Ngolo Kanté ✔️Christian Eriksen ✔️Paul Pogba ✔️Harry Kane ✔️Mauro Icardi They have £300m to spend. This is a list of +£1.5b.
It's understandable that at this stage of his career and in his prime years, Hazard might see Real—Zidane's most iconic club as a player—as the ideal destination.
The prospect of joining Real likely looks all the sweeter to Hazard as Chelsea sit sixth in the Premier League, with the club facing a struggle to qualify for the Champions League.