What started out as a Real Madrid dream has swiftly become a nightmare.
However, it’s a nightmare that looks as if it could soon be coming to an end for a troubled Eden Hazard.
The dejected image of the Belgian winger limping of a football pitch has become an all too familiar one over the past two years, so witnessing Hazard hobble off during his Red Devils’ defeat to France in the UEFA Nations League semi-final last week felt like another case of déjà vu.
Plagued by injury and suffering a crisis of confidence, the former Chelsea star has seen his Real Madrid career fail to fulfil its promise after his scintillating performances in the Premier League earned him a dream move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
And now it seems Real Madrid’s patience has run out.
With Spanish outlet Sport reporting that Los Blancos are ready to cash in on Hazard in a bid to fund a spectacular move for latest hotshot Erling Haaland, we take a look at the now 30-year-old’s options as he looks to salvage his career.
After a stunning seven-season spell for the Blues between 2012 and 2019, which saw him win six trophies, Hazard swapped Stamford Bridge for Spain in a deal worth £88million in the summer of 2019.
But could a Chelsea reunion now be on the cards? If recent reports are believed to true, then quite possibly.
Catalan outlet El Nacional have reported that ‘informal talks’ have been held between the two clubs and Roman Abramovich has expressed his approval at seeing Hazard back in blue.
Although Thomas Tuchel already possesses a star-studded squad, none of his wide men have managed to emerge as the main provider for Hazard’s Belgium teammate Romelu Lukaku.
The German manager has also made no secret his admiration for Hazard and was full of praise when his Chelsea side faced off against Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League semi-final.
“He is a top quality player and a key player for many years at this club and this league, the hardest in the world,” gushed Tuchel.
“So consistent. I have the biggest respect for him. He is a big player, we have many people here who know him well.
“He was a key player for this club now he plays for Real Madrid.”
Where should Eden Hazard go next? Let us know what you think in the comments section
While the prospect of a Premier League return for Hazard will certainly get tongues wagging, it might not be in the blue of Chelsea, but perhaps the black and white of Newcastle United.
And while that may have seemed a ludicrous statement only this time last week, the Magpies £305million Saudi-backed takeover has changed everything.
United’s mega rich new owners have already outlined their ambition to turn the side currently sitting in 19th in the Premier League table into top trophy challenging contenders.
With a spending splurge expected during the next few transfer windows, a marquee signing in the form of former Premier League winner Hazard in January could well set the ball rolling.
Another side sporting black and white stripes who are likely to be sniffing around are Italian giants Juventus.
The Old Lady have experienced a stuttering start to the season and currently find themselves languishing in seventh in Serie A.
Having lost talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who himself secured a sensational return to a former team in the shape of Manchester United on Deadline Day this summer, Juventus are on the lookout for a replacement.
Despite being heavily linked with Hazard following Ronaldo’s headline-hogging transfer, a Juve move failed to materialise, however the Italians could well go back in for Hazard, who could be the man to fire the Turin club back to the Serie A summit after their run of nine straight league titles was ended by Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan last season.
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With Hazard turning 31 in January and struggling to recapture his mesmerising form of old, perhaps a move further afield could be in the pipeline.
Renowned as a league which coaxes ageing players to spend their twilight years over in the States, MLS is certainly an option for Hazard who would be following in the footsteps of Premier League legends David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and former Chelsea teammates Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole to name but a few.
There will be no shortage of MLS suitors as the option of packing up for one final payday over in America will no doubt offer up some temptations.
Indeed, one team who could swoop for Hazard is Beckham's Inter Miami side.
However, back in 2019, when quizzed on the possibility of playing in the MLS one day, Hazard initially appeared dismissive.
“No. Things can always change, but I doubt it if I will ever play there,” Hazard told Belgian source HLN.
“I have always said that I want to finish my career in Belgium. But right now I think this is quite difficult to envisage.”
However, things certainly have changed, and for Hazard, it’s time to start dreaming again.
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