Eden Hazard’s future at Chelsea remains uncertain but the message from his teammates is loud and clear: “We all want him to stay.”
The 28-year-old Belgian international has been linked with a £100 million ($129 million) move to Real Madrid but neither Hazard nor Chelsea are prepared to comment further before the club plays in the Europa League final against Arsenal later this month.
Hazard recently announced that he had made up his mind over his next move, and while his Chelsea teammates understand that his future may lie away from Stamford Bridge, they’re still hopeful he may see out the final year of his contract.
“I think he will be remembered as one of the best players to have played for Chelsea, but also one of the best players to have played in England,” Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek told CNN Sport after being asked about Hazard’s legacy.
“I think what he has done for Chelsea over the past seven years is remarkable and he’s helped Chelsea win Premier League titles, Europa League titles.”
Widely regarded as Chelsea’s most talented player, Hazard has scored 19 goals this season. On Monday, the Belgian told the Chelsea website that the current campaign has been one of his “best seasons in terms of goal contribution.”
“He is such a talented player but he’s still got time left to improve and be even more magical,” added Loftus-Cheek. “As a club then Chelsea thanks him for what he has done if he does decide to move on but we all want him to stay obviously.”
Earlier this month FIFA upheld a ban that prohibits Chelsea from signing any new players for the next two transfer windows.
That ban potentially might persuade Chelsea to lose out on a huge transfer fee for Hazard and keep the Belgian until the end of his contract.
England international Loftus-Cheek, who has come through the ranks at Chelsea after joining the club as a youngster, says Hazard has proved a role model for him since breaking into the first team.
And the 23-year-old says that just being around Hazard has helped him learn what it takes to succeed at the very top level.
“I think just being around him, just being able to play with him and kind of observe how he is as a person and a human being,” said Loftus-Cheek.
“He’s a very nice person, he is so focused on what he does. He has a quiet confidence about him that is rare I think. It’s good to see all the different personalities. He’s very quiet and focused; someone else might be loud and vocal. He is definitely one of the best players I’ve played with.”
Hazard and his Chelsea teammates are currently in Boston ahead of a charity match against the New England Revolution which has been dubbed: ‘Final Whistle on Hate.’
The match is expected to raise over $3 million which will go to charities and groups fighting anti-Semitism and anti-discrimination in the US, UK and across the world.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft are each donating $1 million to the fund, with an estimated 25,000 fans expected to watch Wednesday’s game.
“We’re here to make an impact on what we represent as a sport and how we want the game to be rid of discrimination,” Loftus-Cheek added.
“I think it’s an important thing we do and it’s all coming from the owners for this to happen which is great to know that the owners of these big clubs want to represent something better in football.
“We are here to play a game to increase the awareness on discrimination and how we don’t want it anywhere near the sport.”