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Eden Hazard's next move: Will Chelsea star be swapping Stamford Bridge for Real Madrid in the summer?

Eden Hazard: Destined for Real Madrid?
Eden Hazard: Destined for Real Madrid?

Eden Hazard claims he's "made a decision" about his future but does that mean he's leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid?

Hazard told French radio station RMC on Tuesday: "I know what I am going to do. I have made a decision".

But does that mean he is staying put or leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid?

Let's look at the evidence...

The decision?

Hazard, now 28, joined Chelsea in June 2012 from Lille. The Belgium captain signed a contract extension in February 2015, which expires in June 2020, so will have 12 months to run come the end of the 2018-19 season. This next deal will likely be the biggest of Hazard's career, when he is at his peak.

Chelsea will want him to commit to the club by signing a new deal or will be forced to sell in the summer - the Blues will not want to risk losing him on a Bosman free transfer the following year. Hazard has 104 goals in 331 appearances for the Blues, who would likely demand a fee of £100 million or more.

Madrid is Hazard's dream move

Prior to May's FA Cup final, Hazard challenged Chelsea to invest in the team. Then, after leading Belgium to third place at the World Cup, he said "it might be time to discover something different... you all know my preferred destination". Hazard rowed back on that statement, somewhat, when returning to Chelsea, insisting he could see out his career at Stamford Bridge.

After October's 3-0 victory at Southampton, Hazard shared the thought process which was going through his mind. "Real Madrid is the best club in the world. It is my dream since I was a kid," he said. "Sometimes in my head, I wake up in the morning and think I want to go. Sometimes I think I want to stay."

Real Madrid the only team in the frame

Hazard has long had a contract offer on the table to stay at Chelsea. If his first thought was to stay, he would have signed it by now. Of course, he may yet do so. The thought is that Hazard has been waiting to see if Real's reported interest is genuine.

Hazard idolised Zinedine Zidane when he was growing up, but even the France great's departure as Real boss has not affected his thinking. There is plenty of potential for change at Real, so it may yet transpire that a move to Madrid is not an option and then Hazard will stay put. He has ruled out a move to Paris St Germain, one of the few clubs who could afford him.

All or nothing on the pitch

Hazard has mesmerised at times for Chelsea this season and has double figures for Premier League goals (12) and assists (10). He scored twice in the win over Huddersfield and showed his burgeoning partnership with Gonzalo Higuain, the on-loan Juventus striker once of Real Madrid. Prior to Higuain's arrival, Hazard was deployed as a 'false nine', to limit his defensive responsibilities.

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri said Hazard was happy there; on the pitch he did not look too pleased. And the Blues boss publicly demanded more of his star player. Higuain's arrival could save Sarri, help to secure Champions League qualification - another must if Hazard is to stay - and persuade the 28-year-old that a bright future can be had in Chelsea blue.

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Most Read Football

The latest rumour and gossip from the back pgaes1

Paper Talk: Lukaku to go?

Manchester United are ready to sell £75m striker Romelu Lukaku as they look to bring in one of Serie A's top hit men in Paulo Dybala or Mauro Icardi.

Our best bets for the latest FA Cup round2

FA Cup betting preview

Paul Higham casts an eye over the fifth round games in the FA Cup with best bets for every game coming up over the weekend.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi3

Yet another milestone for Messi

Lionel Messi scored the only goal as Barcelona beat Real Valladolid and it meant he achieved another notable landmark in an astonishing career.

Our best bets for Blackburn v Middlesbrough
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Rovers to bounce back against Boro

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WATCH: Sky Bet Championship goals

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Football Tips

Our best bets for the latest FA Cup round

FA Cup betting preview

Paul Higham casts an eye over the fifth round games in the FA Cup with best bets for every game coming up over the weekend.

Our best bets for Blackburn v Middlesbrough

Rovers to bounce back against Boro

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