Didier Drogba Says 'No-One Can Replace' Former Team-Mate Eden Hazard at Chelsea

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJune 23, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26:  Eden Hazard and Didier Drogba of Chelsea (R) walk off at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on October 26, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has said "no-one can replace" former team-mate Eden Hazard at the club following his transfer to Real Madrid.

Hazard joined Los Blancos earlier in June and ended his seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge, but Drogba said in a recent Instagram Live story (h/t TalkSport) that his old club won't be able to fill the void.

He told his followers: "No-one can replace Hazard, he is special. But someone else will come, [and] step up. Hazard is a legend at Chelsea. That's life, that’s football."

The Belgian had been linked with the Chelsea exit for a long time prior to completing his switch, and the Blues were under pressure to sell such a valuable asset after he entered the last year of his contract.

Hazard spoke with Real's official Twitter account after he was unveiled and told of his joy to be playing in Madrid:

Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 @realmadriden

🎙💬 EXCLUSIVE | HAZARD INTERVIEW @hazardeden10: "This white shirt means a lot to me. @realmadrid is the best club in the world." #WelcomeHazard | #HalaMadrid https://t.co/4FlnUqWXAd

Drogba rejoined Chelsea for a second stint in 2014 and helped guide the club back to the Premier League title alongside Hazard. The ex-Ivory Coast international won a total of four English top-flight titles in nine Premier League seasons, not to mention four FA Cups and the 2012 UEFA Champions League crown.

The 41-year-old made a total of 381 appearances for Chelsea—29 more than Hazard—but one could argue Drogba had the fortune of playing as part of more talented squads, mostly under Jose Mourinho.

Nevertheless, Statman Dave highlighted Hazard's individual statistics for the 2018-19 Premier League campaign as Chelsea finished third under Maurizio Sarri:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Eden Hazard for Chelsea in the 2018/2019 Premier League: most successful take-ons (137) most chances created (98) most shots taken (93) most assists (16) most goals (15) Absolutely ran the show. 🇧🇪🇧🇪🇧🇪 https://t.co/4r1tlJIWFq

Hazard demonstrated his selflessness by taking up centre-forward roles he was accustomed to at several points this season, adapting his play as Sarri required, all for the benefit of the team.

Goal's Nizaar Kinsella paid tribute to the 28-year-old and named Callum Hudson-Odoi, 18, as a potential successor on the wing:

Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella

It has been an absolute joy to watch Hazard turn out for so many of his 352 appearances at Chelsea. I think Hudson-Odoi should replace him. That's up to the next manager who I expect will be Frank Lampard at this stage. #CFC

Chelsea agreed a £58 million deal to sign Borussia Dortmund wide man Christian Pulisic in January, which looks like even better business as the Blues now face a two-window transfer ban.

Hazard can afford to expand his horizons in search of bigger and better plaudits in Madrid, while Chelsea are left without a manager and wondering how to fill the gap he left in the squad.