REAL MADRID

Zidane has been working on Hazard deal for a decade

Zidane has been working on Hazard deal for a decade

ANDREW COULDRIDGE

Action Images via Reuters

Since 2009, Zidane has been telling Real Madrid to sign Hazard and the Belgian has never been shy to send the odd wink back in the direction of the Bernabéu.

Zinedine Zidane never gives up on his dreams. The Real Madrid manager is close to achieving a goal he set out to achieve starting in 2009; the signing of Eden Hazard. For 10 years, ever since he returned to the club to advise Florentino Perez, the Frenchman has been trying to convince Real Madrid to sign him. 

Hazard has always and continues to fascinate Zidane and he considers him one of the few players you could categorise as a galactico. "I would bring him to Madrid with my eyes closed," he said back in 2009 but it wasn't until a year after that he recommended him officially. At the time, he was a 19-year-old at Lille. It didn't have the intended result as Hazard wound up at Chelsea in 2012 after being named France's best player twice.

After spells as an advisor and then as Ancelotti's assistant, Zidane eventually took over Castilla and was then handed the reins after Rafa Benítez was sacked by the club. He never forgot about Hazard though. "After Cristiano and Messi, Eden is the one I like the most," he said. "It's spectacular to watch him play."

After resigning from the club last year after winning his third Champions League in a row, Zidane took the call from Perez again to take over a club in crisis. He answered the call and came back with a much stronger hand than before with his one non-negotiable request being the signing of Hazard.

Hazard's role has been key

Hazard's role in the deal is key. He is out of contract next year and he has sent multiple winks in Real Madrid's direction in the past. "I feel a lot of admiration for Madrid," he said in 2017. The following year he said "Real Madrid interest me, everyone knows it. If they want to buy me, they know what they have to do."

"My future?" he said last year. "You know which one is my favourite."

He has informed Chelsea of his decision and says it's up to the two clubs now to figure things out. This year, a decade after that first nod in Hazard's direction, it seems that his wish will come true.