London: Eden Hazard has laid bare his inner turmoil about his future, but says he is willing to open talks with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich about a new contract despite a lifelong dream to join Real Madrid.
However, Hazard also admitted there were days when he awoke thinking that he would like to leave and others when he wanted to stay.
In a remarkably candid interview, Hazard said that he expected to be happy with either outcome and described the club’s football under new manager Maurizio Sarri as the best since he joined from Lille six years ago.
He also stressed that he wanted to avoid a repeat of the “messy” situation when former goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois left for Real Madrid in August.
Like Courtois, who failed to report for training before eventually getting his move to Real, Hazard will be in the final 12 months of his contract next year.
“I don’t want that,” Hazard said. “I want what’s good for me, but I want what’s good for the club because the club has given me everything. I don’t want to say, ‘yes, I am signing a new contract’ and then in the end I don’t end up signing.
“In my head, sometimes I wake up in the morning and think I want to go. Sometimes I think I want to stay. It is a hard decision. It is my future. I am 27 and I will turn 28 in January.”
Hazard is conscious that he has only one big move left in his career. “That’s why I spoke after the World Cup and I said that I think it is time to change because I played a great World Cup,” he said. “I am playing good football. Real Madrid is the best club in the world. I don’t want to lie today. It is my dream since I was a kid. I was dreaming about this club. I don’t want to talk about this every day. I don’t have time, but we will talk about my future soon. I think so.”
Asked if he wanted only to talk again with Chelsea at the end of the season, Hazard said: “I could talk now. If they come to me, then I will talk. I don’t want to say that I am not talking with the club or the owner. I am talking a lot with them. So, we just need to find a good.”
Real Madrid are in a period of transition following the summer departures of both Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo, and are in fourth place in La Liga.
Chelsea are understood to be relaxed about the situation and, although some talks are expected in the coming months, Hazard’s future appears unlikely to be resolved before next summer.
The fact that it is essentially a one-club market is also potentially significant, with much hinging on Real’s own finances and their priorities next year.
Hazard stressed that his decision would rest on more than the shorter-term form of each club and Sarri’s influence will clearly be a significant factor. Hazard, whose assist against Southampton on Sunday completed a 31-pass move, is in the form of his career and being increasingly compared to the very best in the world.
He said that it was “hard but possible” to reach 40 goals this season.
“We had some great results in the past so I can’t say that the managers before weren’t good, but I think in terms of football and the way we are playing, yes, this is the best football,” Hazard said. “It is similar to how we played in France with Lille. A lot of passing and moving. Movement from the team.
“When teams play against us, they are a bit scared because we have great players. It is like when you play Liverpool or Man City.”