Zinedine Zidane Praises 'Fantastic' Eden Hazard amid Real Madrid Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on April 03, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has spoken of his admiration for Chelsea forward Eden Hazard amid fresh speculation linking the player with a move to the La Liga side.

Speaking on Friday, Zidane was asked about the Belgium international, who has long been tipped to make a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu, per BBC Sport.

"He's a player I have always appreciated," said the Madrid boss. "He is fantastic. I will not give my personal opinion about what may happen because the season has not ended. He has played in France, I have watched him a lot and I know him personally."

Here is more of what the Madrid boss had to say:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

It wouldn't be a Zinedine Zidane press conference without a chat about Eden Hazard...

Following Zidane’s press conference ahead of Los Blancos’ showdown with Eibar, fresh speculation emerged regarding Hazard.

According to Jose Felix Diaz of Marca, the two clubs are getting closer to agreeing a deal that would see Hazard move to the Santiago Bernabeu, and the signing could be confirmed "in the coming days."

"The three parties—Chelsea, Madrid and the player himself—are close to reaching a total agreement and the Belgium international will soon travel to Madrid, where he will stay for the next six seasons," continued the story.

Kristof Terreur of Het Laatste Nieuws commented on the report, saying he was not aware of a transfer being completed yet:

Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 @HLNinEngeland

As far as I know Chelsea and Real Madrid still haven’t reached an agreement over Eden Hazard. There have been contacts between the clubs, but #CFC are still haggling over the price - wanting more than €100m for a player who has only one year left on his contract. https://t.co/fEvPhffHE8

Chelsea are in a difficult situation when it comes to their star man, as he only has a year left to run on his contract at the end of the campaign.

It means that if the Blues don’t sell him in the upcoming transfer window, they risk losing him for a significantly reduced fee in January or for nothing at the end of next term. Madrid may feel as though they can get the Belgium star on the cheap, as they did with Thibaut Courtois last summer.

Any exit would leave a huge void in the Chelsea attack, as Hazard has established himself as one of the best players in the Premier League:

Footy Accumulators @FootyAccums

Hazard in the Premier League 18/19: Most goal contributions (26) Most assists (12) Most dribbles (101) Most chances created from open play (65) 2nd most big chances created (15) Most MOTMs (12) Most points won (20) Wowww 😳 https://t.co/novH7MH08b

He has also shouldered a massive amount of attacking responsibility under manager Maurizio Sarri:

Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 @HLNinEngeland

26. Eden Hazard is now involved in 26 goals for Chelsea in the Premier League: 14 goals and 12 assists (47% of all Chelsea's goals). #CFC https://t.co/0ymxpkt0uB

Madrid have endured a challenging campaign, and they are set to end it without any silverware. 

With that in mind, not to mention the fact Zidane was lured back to the club for a second spell, it’s anticipated Real will spend big in the summer. If Hazard was drafted in, he’d be an ideal player to enliven an attack that has been dulled without Cristiano Ronaldo this season.

With no contract extension in sight for the Chelsea man and intensifying speculation in the press about a possible move, the switch does feel increasingly inevitable. Blues supporters would be best advised to enjoy Hazard at Stamford Bridge while they still can.