They thought they would be doing this 12 months ago, Real Madrid have confirmed they have finally signed Eden Hazard from Chelsea in a deal which could rise to more than €150million.
Hazard will move to Spain for an initial fee of €100m on a five-year contract worth more than €400,000 a week, and is set to be presented as a Real player on Thursday after international duty with Belgium, subject to a medical.
Chelsea will receive additional payments depending upon a series of add-ons, some of which are understood to be basic and very achievable.
It seems to be a good deal for all concerned. Real Madrid will get one of the best players in the world, in his prime at the age of 28.
Hazard gets to reali=ze his dream of playing for the club under coach Zinedine Zidane, who was his idol as a boy.
He leaves with the blessing and goodwill of Chelsea who will bank a fortune for a player with only one year left on his contract and has provided them with seven years of service since he was signed for £32m from Lille.
Hazard has won the Premier League twice, the Europa League twice, the FA Cup and the League Cup, and was voted Footballer of the Year in 2015, which he recently referred to as his best season in English football.
He scored two goals in the final of the Europa League against Arsenal, in Baku, last month, which will prove to be his final game for the club.
In a statement Hazard said: ‘
It’s no secret that it was my dream to play for Real Madrid since I was a young boy. I have loved every moment at Chelsea and not once did I consider leaving, nor would I have left for any other club.’
Chelsea director Marina Granoskaia said:
‘Although it is with sadness we say goodbye to Eden and we made it absolutely clear to him the club wished him to stay we respect the decision he has made to take on a new challenge in a different country and follow his childhood dream of playing for Real Madrid.
‘The memories he leaves us with will not fade. He provided all who watched Chelsea play with great entertainment and many match-winning contribution and for that we thank Eden enormously.
‘He has been a model professional throughout his time at the club, a wonderful individual to have around and a joy to work with. We look forward to welcoming him back to Stamford Bridge in the future.’
Hazard made 352 appearances for Chelsea and scored 110 goals. Only eight players have scored more for the club.