Eden Hazard aims for paradise
Chelsea superstar keen to end his time at Stamford Bridge with Europa League final win against rivals Arsenal ahead of next season's move to Real Madrid
Chelsea fear it may be a parting gift, but should tonight's Europa League final be Eden Hazard's last game for the club, the Belgian is determined to go out on a high.
After seven seasons at Stamford Bridge, Hazard is expected to move to Real Madrid this summer after running down his contract into its final year.
"I just want to win the trophy if it is my last game," said Hazard at the prospect of bowing out with his sixth Chelsea trophy. Hazard has already told the club of where his future lies, with all signs pointing to a departure for the Spanish capital. However, Chelsea's position is complicated by a FIFA ban on signing players for the next two transfer windows.
Sell now and as things stand, pending an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, they will be unable to recruit a replacement. Holding onto Hazard for a further 12 months, though, runs the risk that he can leave on a free transfer rather than for a reported £100 million ($127 million).
"We need to be ready if he wants something different," admitted Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, who himself could be headed for pastures new after the final in Baku. Despite a topsy-turvy first season under Sarri, Chelsea have at least sealed their principal objective for the campaign by securing a return to the Champions League next season via a third-place finish in the Premier League thanks to Hazard's 16 goals and 15 assists.
However, Hazard, 28, believes his best seasons are not measured in statistics, but silverware. "In terms of goals and assists, yes," he said when asked if this had been his best season in England. "But for me a good season is not if I score 40 goals, I want to win something at the end. I don't look just for the statistics."
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