Zinedine Zidane’s shock decision to step down as manager of Real Madrid despite three straight Champions League titles has lifted Chelsea’s hopes of keeping talisman Eden Hazard at the club beyond this summer, according to the Evening Standard.
The Standard report that talks over Hazard’s contract have not progressed for over a year, amid constant interest from the Spanish giants, but Zidane was the driving force behind that.
They claim that now the Frenchman – who was pushing the Real board to make a bid for the Belgian – has left the club, Chelsea have a much greater chance of keeping him as Madrid have not made signing Hazard a priority, regardless of the new man in charge.
It also says that Zidane is an idol of Hazard’s, so his resignation also removes another factor that might have driven the playmaker towards the Spanish capital this summer.
Without Hazard, this Chelsea team is a workmanlike outfit, full of physicality but lacking flair and always with the propensity to drop their level when the harmony in the dressing room dips or the manager is unpopular.
He is the man who keeps opposition defences from pushing up and swamping Chelsea, the man who always offers an out ball and someone who is capable of dismantling a defence on his own.
Even getting a bumper fee in for Hazard – and Real would pay big bucks – would not be especially useful as a player of similar stature is unlikely to be willing to step into the Europa League, even for just a season.