HomeSportsExclusive: Eden Hazard intends to stay at Real Madrid until 2024

Exclusive: Eden Hazard intends to stay at Real Madrid until 2024

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Eden Hazard intends to stay at Real Madrid until the end of his contract in June 2024, The Athletic can exclusively reveal.

The Belgian arranged a meeting with his staff in Madrid in February to review his situation, although it was not clear a decision would be made there.

But Hazard and his team reached a consensus weeks ago and the 32-year-old wants to stay at Madrid for a variety of professional and personal reasons.

Hazard is under contract at Madrid and has a right to stay, having signed for five seasons when he joined from Chelsea in 2019 and became the club’s record signing. He is also the highest-paid player in the Madrid squad and has no intention of giving up his salary.

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Madrid agreed to pay Chelsea €100million (£88.3m, $107.6m) for the forward, but the deal included further add-ons worth up to a reported €160m. While not all of these add-ons have been triggered, the cost has surpassed the €101m fee the club spent on previous record signing Gareth Bale.


Eden Hazard’s most recent appearance for Real Madrid came in the Copa del Rey against fourth-tier Cacereno in January (Photo: Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images).

Hazard, who retired from Belgium duty after 126 appearances for his country following their World Cup group-stage exit, is also prioritising his personal happiness. His family are well-settled in Madrid and that is the forward’s primary concern. One of Hazard’s sons, Leo, even joined Real Madrid’s youth academy in the last month, as seen on the Madrid Football Federation (RFFM) website.

The forward is not negotiating with any other teams and has not received any formal offers from other clubs.

The only obstacle to Hazard staying at Madrid could be a lack of harmony with the club. Real have been looking for a way out for their record signing since the summer of 2021, which has upset Hazard.

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In the dressing room, Hazard’s team-mates value his good humour but believe he is no longer able to compete as expected. That is an opinion also held by the coaching staff, although they understand the Belgian’s frustration given he is not playing.

According to Opta, Hazard has played just 36.7 per cent of Madrid games in all competitions (73 out of 199) he has been available for and has started in just 21.6 per cent of them (43 out of 199) since he joined from Chelsea.


Hazard picked up a Champions League winner’s medal last season but has missed 500 days of action with Madrid (Photo: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images).

A series of injuries and two separate operations have meant Hazard has missed 500 days of action with Madrid, according to the website Transfermarkt, compared to just 198 days out during seven seasons with Chelsea. But he has also suffered from head coach Carlo Ancelotti lacking confidence in him since the Italian returned for his second spell at the club in 2021.

Hazard is 20th in the list of most-used Madrid players this season with just 296 minutes in all competitions, having contributed a goal and an assist in that time on the pitch. He has not played in La Liga since a 4-1 win against Real Mallorca in September and has not featured in the Champions League since a 3-2 loss against RB Leipzig in October.

The Belgian has not played for Madrid in more than two months — a 1-0 win against fourth-tier side Cacereno on January 3 in which he played 67 minutes.

But Hazard is also disappointed with Ancelotti on a personal level. He was made to understand that he would be more involved under the Italian this season, but this has not happened. Sources close to the Belgian, who asked to remain anonymous to protect relationships, previously told The Athletic that dealings with Ancelotti were practically non-existent.

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“Hazard is fine,” Ancelotti said last Wednesday. “He is training and he wants to have minutes. He can have them in the next games.” Hazard did not play a day later against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg, meaning he has yet to play an official Clasico in 10 meetings during his time at the club.

There have not been talks between Madrid and Hazard to discuss his future and there are no plans to do so in the short term.

Sources close to Hazard were blunt when asked by The Athletic if there was any scenario in which the forward could leave this summer: “No.”

According to another source close to the player, only a potential move to the United States could convince him to leave Madrid.

The Belgian is determined to stay at Madrid, even if he is asked to leave. That was an option he contemplated in an interview with Spanish sports newspaper Marca before the World Cup, in which he said he would listen to the club if they wanted him to go.

Now Hazard wants to see out his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu against Madrid’s will, just as Gareth Bale and Isco previously did and as striker Mariano Diaz is doing now.

(Top photo: Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images)

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