Football News

“I’ll go to Spain if necessary” — Lille’s president refuses to rule out Eden Hazard return

By Ben Green

Published: 18:14, 16 December 2021

The president of Lille is not prepared to completely shut the door on a possible reunion with Eden Hazard, whose struggles at Real Madrid have festered into another season.

The diminutive forward rose to meteoric prominence at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, where he established himself as one of Europe’s most creative and prolific wingers, before Chelsea stumped up a king’s ransom to bring him to Stamford Bridge.

During a five-year stint in the first-team of Lille, Hazard helped the club win a historic domestic double in 2010/11, with Rudi Garcia’s Mastiffs lifting the Ligue 1 trophy and sealing the Coupe de France at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain in the final.

His ankle-snapping exploits naturally alerted Europe’s leading lights and Chelsea paid £32m for his services in 2012, where he went on to become one of the Premier League’s best players for the majority of last decade, mopping up club and individual titles aplenty.

That prompted Florentino Perez to loosen the purse strings and splash £89m on the Belgian in 2019 to make him the 10th most expensive player of all time to date. However, he has been unable to translate his Premier League form to the Spanish capital since.

Marred by injury problems and struggles with consistency Hazard, soon to be 31 next month, has now completely fallen out of favour with current head coach Carlo Ancelotti, who has kept him on the bench for the past three La Liga matches, failing to turn to him.

With his position at Real now up in the air, Hazard has been heavily linked with a departure from the Bernabeu, though with a purported wage package of £400,000 per week, there are few clubs on the market that could match the Belgian’s lofty salary.

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Despite that, Lille president Olivier Letang has refused to pour cold water on rumours linking the club’s once cherished son with a return to Hauts-de-France, suggesting he would even make a personal trip to Spain in order to facilitate a transfer.

“Hazard back to Lille? It is not impossible,” Letang told L’Equipe Soir.

“I’ll go to Spain if necessary. It may seem impossible. Obviously, Hazard is an incredible player with a lot of quality. Right now, he is a Real Madrid player and has a contract with that club.”

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