Eden Hazard has grown tired of life under Jose Mourinho and wants to leave Chelsea to join Real Madrid, according to a sensational report in L'Equipe.
The news – brought to our attention by the Mirror – comes shortly after Mourinho's decision to drop Hazard from his starting XI. The 24-year-old was left on the bench for the Blues' 2-0 win over Aston Villa and a public dressing down from the manager followed.
It was not the first time Mourinho has done such a thing but his latest reprimand, criticising his lack of application when defending, hit Hazard hard. Indeed, the strength of their relationship appears to be under serious scrutiny with some in the media already suggesting it is close to breaking point.
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We moved closer to the point of no return after Hazard appeared to 'like' an Instagram post referencing a potential move to Real Madrid. The legitimacy of that story has since been questioned, but the extra fuel was already on the fire.
It is, therefore, no surprise that France's popular sports daily has made this dramatic announcement. Hazard, despite being a Belgian international, is seen as an adopted son in French football after emerging through the Lille youth system.
Lack of ambition
There is still some debate as to whether Real Madrid are actually interested in Hazard. As one of the world's most prominent stars, officials at the Bernabeu almost certainly have one eye on him, but the same could be said of any major European outfit.
However, L'Equipe believe that the £200,000-a-week winger wants to leave and, as a result, Real Madrid are automatically the favourites to land him. Apparently, Chelsea's lack of ambition in the summer transfer window has irked the PFA Player of the Year. It is that lack of activity that has also been blamed for their poor start to the season.
But Real Madrid are unlikely to move for Hazard unless Cristiano Ronaldo leaves. Conveniently enough, it seems Paris Saint-Germain are ready and willing to solve that problem. Reports from both Guillem Balague and Goal have recently linked the 30-year-old with a move to the French capital.
Hazard could never be expected to fill the boots of Madrid's record goalscorer, but he would provide a platform for Gareth Bale to become the main star. That is something that will surely appeal to president Florentino Perez.