Time is running out on Eden Hazard’s contract, set to expire June 30, 2020. If he doesn’t sign a new one before January of that year, or in about 15 months, he’ll be free to deal with whatever team he wants — i.e. Real Madrid. It’s unlikely that he would want to leave for any other club.
Chelsea have been trying to ink him to a new pact with club-record wages to match for over a year now. He’s playing hard to get, as he should. When Zinedine Zidane was still running Real Madrid, it was taken as a foregone conclusion that Hazard would leave us for him. That’s nothing new of course; it’s been taken as a foregone conclusion that Hazard would leave Chelsea for Real since the very first day he arrived at the club in 2012.
He’s never actually pushed for a move (his father has), but this summer, he openly admitted that he was considering the possibility of a new challenge — that’s the nice way of putting the idea of him leaving firmly out there.
“I will go on holiday and ask myself the right questions. After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision — if they want to let me go.
“For my career, certainly after this World Cup, I’m at a moment where I might change.
“We all know that I’ve always felt well at Chelsea, and I’ve been linked to all the big clubs. Next week it will be Bayern (Munich). No I’m joking. You all know my preferred destination.”
-Eden Hazard; July 2018
As fates would have it, just as Hazard began testing the waters of the transfer market, circumstances intervened: Zidane resigned at Real Madrid; Antonio Conte was sacked by Chelsea, and replaced by just about a polar opposite in footballing ideals, Maurizio Sarri. Chelsea showed the requisite ambition by signing Jorginho alongside the new manager. Hazard excelled at the World Cup, but thanks to the shortened summer transfer window, the only way he was ever leaving in the first place was if he pulled Courtois-level shenanigans. But Chelsea are much more important to Hazard than we are to Thibaut, that much is patently obvious by now.
In a pre-match interview with BT Sport ahead of today’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool, Hazard confirmed (for the first time?) what we basically knew all along anyway.
“I will tell you the truth, after the World Cup I wanted to leave, because my dream is to play in Spain.”
That’s the monster under the bed.
Here’s the light that shines on it.
“But then I talk with the board here, with the manager, and I say OK you don’t want me to leave, I can stay no problem. I’m happy here, to stay I think was the right decision.”
But the monster has only retreated. Hazard already hinted last month that he intends to put off any contract talks until the second-half of the season, at the earliest. For now, he’s fully focused on only what comes next immediately, which at the time of the interview was Saturday’s epic showdown.
“Now I’m with Chelsea. I have two years contract left. I can sign a new deal, maybe no. In my mind, what is important is the next game. The next game is Liverpool, and then we will see what’s happen.”
So there’s a chance he could spend the rest of his career at Chelsea?
“Yes, for sure. But also the possibility is in the one year or two years I could leave also. The fans, they love me. I like the club, I like the city. And my teammates, I think they love me also. For me, it’s easy to stay. But like I say, if I leave or if I stay, I will be happy. This club is now part of my life.
“We will see”
-Eden Hazard; source: BT Sport
While Hazard paints a carefree attitude, as always, he surely understands that this next contract, signed in the prime of his career, is the last “big” contract of his career. If he stays, he confirms his place in the pantheon of Chelsea legends. If he goes, we will always the titles, the goals, the fun, and the memories. Hopefully he makes the right choice in the end.