London, Monday @PeopleSport11
Eden Hazard completed his seventh Premier League season as a Chelsea player and then revealed he had informed the club of his desire to leave for Real Madrid.
‘I have made my decision but it is not just about me,’ said Hazard after the goalless draw at Leicester. ‘I told the club a couple of weeks ago. ‘I wanted it to be cleared up earlier but that’s not happened. I’m still waiting, like the fans are waiting.’
Chelsea will be back into the Champions League next season — a point at Leicester was enough to clinch third place — but Hazard said that would make no difference to the decision over his future.
At 28, he is ready for a new challenge but Real Madrid must still agree a transfer fee to free him from the final year of his contract.
‘We have a final to play and then I will see,’ said Hazard. ‘It has never been a distraction. When you are on the pitch, you try to be focused on the pitch with the ball. That’s it.
Life without Hazard
‘When I am on the pitch I just try to do the best. I am not thinking about this and this, my situation or the club’s situation. I just try to win games.’ If this was a glimpse of life without Hazard then it will send a shiver through the corridors of Stamford Bridge.
He spent most of the game on the bench as Maurizio Sarri made six changes and was unable to find a winner when he came on. Hazard saluted fans after the final whistle and they sang for him to stay but he did not linger.
‘Eden has tried his best for seven seasons at Chelsea,’ said Sarri. ‘He has become one of the best two or three players in the world but I think also that we have to respect him and his decision.
‘I hope of course, like every fan of Chelsea, that he will remain with us. But at the moment I don’t know.’
Chelsea finish in third with two more points than last season and with the Europa League final to come against Arsenal. ‘The season was really very difficult for us but at the end we are happy,’ said Sarri. ‘We were in trouble three months ago, and we reacted very well.