REAL MADRID

Belgian media place Eden Hazard close to joining Real Madrid

Belgian media place Eden Hazard close to joining Real Madrid

TORU HANAI

REUTERS

After receiving knock-backs from Mbappé and Neymar who have pledged to stay at PSG, Hazard is now Florentino's chief alternative to replace Cristiano.

Following Neymar's decision to stay on at PSG - an announcement which came directly from the player himself at during his charity gala in São Paulo, and faced with the impossibility of luring new French idol Kylian Mbappé away from Paris, the spotlight has fallen back on Eden Hazard. The Belgium international, who was one of the star performers at the recent World Cup, is the name which keeps cropping up in the transfer rumour mill. In the Belgian media, who are well informed about Hazard's situation, the general consesus is that the player is closer than ever to joining Real Madrid.

HazardSoccer Football - World Cup - Third Place Play Off - Belgium v England - Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia - July 14, 2018 Belgium's Eden Hazard scores their second goal REUTERS/Sergio Perez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

First stage of Hazard negotiations underway

Two newspapers - NieuwsBlad and HLN both report that talks between Real Madrid and Hazard's father have intensified in the last few hours. Other newspapers, such as Le10 Sport, go as far as claiming that there is already an initial agreement in place between Real Madrid and Chelsea for the transfer of the player for a fee of 190 million euros. NieuwsBlad and HLN report that a deal is close, but far from being sealed. The general view in Belgium is that Florentino Pérez and Hazard's father have settled the first stage of negotiations but now the operation will enter the second phase - dealing directly with Chelsea, which is going to be much more complicated.

Eden Hazard during Belgium's homecoming celebrations on the balcony of the city hall at the Brussels' Grand Place.

Hazard is in Sarri's plans

Chelsea's new manager Maurizio Sarri has already proclaimed that he will be counting on Hazard next season and is under the impression that his star striker will remain at the club. “It will be difficult for me to make him play any better because he has been doing really well over the past few years, but I'll be delighted to coach him”, Sarri said recently. But it's possible that he has misjudged Hazard's own wishes; after the World Cup, the 27-year-old said: "After six marvellous years at Chelsea, it could be the time to discover something else. Especially after this World Cup. My future? I might be able to decide whether to stay or go but it will be Chelsea who have the final word. You know my preferred destination. I've been linked to many clubs but Madrid is always very special, whether Zidane's there or not", the player told Het Laastle Nieuws.

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