Hazard has put his future at Stamford Bridge into more doubt after giving an interview to RMC Sport where he said: “I know what I’m going to do, I have decided.”
It is understood the 28-year-old wants to push ahead with plans to move to the Santiago Bernabeu. Chelsea will not let him go without a fight, however, and are putting a huge price tag on his head — even though his contract runs out next year. They have been prepared to offer well in excess of £300,000 a week to ensure he remains at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard, who has delayed any further talks over a new contract until the end of this campaign, revealed after the World Cup last summer that he wanted to leave. At the time, Real decided not to make an official offer because the Blues had intimated it could cost up to £200m for them to buy Hazard.
The Belgium international is enjoying one of his best seasons at Chelsea. He is the fourth top scorer in the Premier League with 12 goals and has made the most assists in the top flight with 10.
Chelsea have not given up hope of convincing him to stay, but will not let him run his contract down and leave on a free. Last week manager Maurizio Sarri said: “Eden is 28. If he wants to go, I think he has to go. Of course, I hope the opposite. He has the potential to be the best player in Europe.”
There are still some question marks over whether Hazard is Real’s first-choice target for the summer. The La Liga club are determined to spend big after struggling in the title race in Spain — they are eight points behind leaders Barcelona. Real are still believed to covet Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe but Hazard will be an easier transfer to do, despite Chelsea’s high valuation.
Hazard was subject of an enquiry from Barcelona last summer but he rejected it. The attacking midfielder is only interested in a switch to Real Madrid and if it does not materialise he will seek to stay at Chelsea. One of the reasons Chelsea bought Christian Pulisic — who will arrrive in the summer — from Borussia Dortmund for £57.4m was to have him in place before any possible departure for Hazard.
Should Hazard leave, it could help Chelsea’s bid to keep Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is wanted by Bayern Munich. Hudson-Odoi’s preferred position is on the left flank, which is where Hazard plays on a regular basis.