Eden Hazard: 'There's Nothing' in Reports I've Agreed to Real Madrid ContractMarch 23, 2019
Eden Hazard says "there's nothing" in reports he's agreed to leave Chelsea at the end of the season and join Real Madrid.
The Belgium international was asked about speculation over his future ahead of his country's 2020 European Championship qualifier against Cyprus on Sunday and sought to play down the rumours.
"There's nothing in the reports," he said, according to Sky Sports. "I'm only focused on tomorrow's game against Cyprus. That's all I'm thinking about."
Spanish news outlet OK Diario (h/t Sport's Alejandro Alcazar) had reported that Hazard had agreed a five-year deal with Real Madrid and a contract worth €16.5 (£14 million) a season.
Hazard has been linked with a move to Real Madrid for some time and has fuelled speculation by speaking of his admiration for manager Zinedine Zidane, who has returned to the Santiago Bernabeu for a second stint in charge.
"As a player, there's no comparison, I have so much respect for Zidane, he's my idol," he told Radio Television Belge Francophone (h/t Mario Cortegana of AS). "It's thanks to him I started playing. But for the victories we've achieved with Martinez, I'd go with Martinez."
According to Dominic Fifield at The Guardian, Hazard is determined to join Zidane at Real Madrid and "has given no indication" he will accept an improved contract at Chelsea worth £300,000 a week.
This is not the first time Hazard has played down speculation over his future.
However, the Belgian will have just a year of his current deal remaining at the end of the season, meaning Chelsea have a tough decision to make over their talisman. He remains their best and most important player, but if he does not sign a contract extension, Chelsea may be forced into a sale.
Journalist Kristof Terreur expects the rumors to continue until the summer:
Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 @HLNinEngeland
This won’t probably stop until June: “Real Madrid have confirmed to Zidane that they have signed up Eden Hazard. There is an agreement. Hazard will be in Madrid in June.” Real have approached Chelsea over EH, but they haven’t accepted anything so far. Anyway... #CFC https://t.co/E6HgW02hax
Real Madrid are expected to spend heavily in the summer window and have promised Zidane £300 million to invest, according to Miguel Delaney at The Independent.
They have been linked with a host of attacking players as well as Hazard. Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has emerged as a target, according to France Football (h/t Danny Gallagher for MailOnline).
Los Blancos are also keen on Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, according to AS (h/t The Sun's Anthony Chapman).
All three players are younger than Hazard, but the Belgium international may be easier to acquire given his contract situation at Chelsea and obvious admiration for Zidane.