LONDON. – Eden Hazard is genuinely in two minds about his future, but he is too carefree a personality to be described as “agonising” over the decision.
For him, it’s a win-win situation: Either he fulfils a boyhood dream by joining Spanish soccer giants Real Madrid next summer, or he stays at English Premiership side Chelsea, where he is settled and adored.
During the course of an illuminating, 11-minute conversation with journalists beside Chelsea’s team bus at St. Mary’s after Sunday’s 3-0 win over Southampton, the winger managed to both reiterate his desire for a “dream” move while also adding that he is open to talks over a contract extension at Stamford Bridge.
“In my head, sometimes I wake up in the morning and think I want to go,” he said. “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 . . . If I leave, I will be happy. I know if I stay I will be happy. It is not like, if I go I am happy, and if I stay that I am unhappy.”
The stakes are rather higher for Chelsea. The money isn’t an issue; owner Roman Abramovich cares far less about the difficulty of getting market value from Madrid for Hazard in the final year of his contract than he does about his club losing a transcendent attacking talent it will not be able to readily replace.
Finances are no more significant an issue in any contract talks. Sources have said that Chelsea are prepared to make Hazard the highest-paid player in the club’s history to commit him to a new deal, and they would put the contract and pen in front of him tomorrow if given the slightest encouragement.