After nine trophy laden years in Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo shockingly opted for pastures new in Turin, and Los Blancos have just under four weeks to replace the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. The rumour mill has inevitably gone in to overdrive, with PSG stars Kylian Mbappe and Neymar the obvious names linked to replacing the Portuguese legend but Parisian chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi is expected to knock back any offers swiftly. Robert Lewandowski has made no secret of his desire to move to the Santiago Bernabéu but age may be against the Polish goal machine, while Harry Kane has recently penned a new six-year deal with boyhood club Tottenham Hotspur.
Despite the obstacles facing Real Madrid in signing a Galactico, there is one standout contender: Eden Hazard. For all the talk of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar vying for the World Cup golden boot and leading their respective nations to glory, it was Hazard who comfortably outshone each man. The Blues talisman led the Red Devils to third in the competition, and the notion he couldn’t perform at the highest level was swiftly dispelled as the former Lille youngster deservedly earned a place in the FIFA team of the tournament.
The current market odds indicate a strong shift in favour of a move to the Spanish capital, with a stay in England expected to come to an end.
|Eden Hazard to join Real Madrid||2/5||Offer|
|Eden Hazard to stay at Chelsea||6/4||Offer|
Hazard has enjoyed six successful seasons in England, but the time is right for a new challenge, particularly for a player who is too good to be playing in the Europa League. Chelsea finished in fifth spot in the 2017-18 Premier League season and it promises to be another topsy turvy campaign under the stewardship of Maurizio Sarri, with no guarantees the Italian will hit the ground running in his new surroundings.
Age is another key factor. Hazard is 27 and entering his peak years, with Ronaldo elsewhere, the Belgian will be able to lead Los Blancos without playing second fiddle to the best player on the planet. Gareth Bale has long craved the role of driving force but the 29-year-old could too leave Spain, with Manchester United reportedly resurrecting their long standing interest in the Welshman.
Hazard was recently linked to a transfer to arch rivals Barcelona, but the forward has never hidden his admiration of Real Madrid, and with rumours of a joint bid in the region of €170m for the Belgian skipper and compatriot Thibaut Courtois, expect a resolution quickly to one of the biggest stories of the summer.