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Former Lille teammate reveals how and when Hazard chose Chelsea over Manchester United

You'll never yacht alone.

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Remember this?

That slightly cryptic tweet wouldn't officially mark the end the of a long, drawn out saga that was Eden Hazard's transfer to England, but it did set up a most satisfying ending for Chelsea fans. Facing an uphill battle against the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea put the cherry on top of the miraculous Champions League run-cake by snatching the most exciting footballing prospect in Europe at the time. Later on, Hazard proved himself to be even better than Shinji Kagawa by winning several individual awards and titles for Chelsea while spearheading our attack with dizzying dribbles and the occasional state of the art goal.

Still, as we might remember, Hazard was reportedly very close to moving to either Manchester club, even going as far making an appearance at the Manchester derby in the 2011-12 season. In fact, according to Hazard's former Lille colleague Túlio de Melo, the only thing that prevented Hazard from joining the bad guys up north as verbally agreed upon (!), was a fateful visit all the way down on the southern coast of France.

"[Hazard] already had a verbal agreement with Manchester United, but there were other clubs wanting him.

"But one day, Chelsea's owner [Roman Abramovich] had his yacht in [Cannes]. We [Lille players] were preparing ourselves to watch a film in the [Cannes] festival when Hazard appeared and said: 'I can't go with you guys, because I have a meeting with my agent and Abramovich right now'.

"They went to [Abramovich's] yacht and when he returned, we were all having dinner in a restaurant.

"Hazard arrived with a wide-open smile and said: 'Well, I think I'll go there [to Chelsea], I think he convinced me'. Right after that, they finished the transfer and he went to play for Chelsea."

-Túlio de Melo; Source: ESPN Brasil

When in doubt, bring in the big yachts.

Even if Hazard's season so far has been rather disappointing, he's still our best player by far in terms of pure talent — with apologies to Brazil's second-best player, Willian — and it's been a very entertaining privilege for us to watch him do his thing in Chelsea blue ever since that fateful day in May 2012.  He, along with the rest of his teammates, looked much better on Tuesday night against Dynamo Kiev; here's hoping that Mourinho's rude and public awakening of our back-to-back Player of the Year will motivate just as well this time, as the last time.

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