Wayne Bridge believes only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo could replace what Chelsea will lose in Eden Hazard.
The 28-year-old Belgian forward is heavily linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge this summer with Real Madrid continually touted as his likely destination.
A modern Chelsea legend. Five things to know…
- Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012 for a reported fee of £32m.
- He’s since gone on to make 348 appearances for The Blues in all competitions registering 108 goals and 88 assists.
- Hazard has won two Premier League titles and two domestic cups.
- He is Chelsea’s leading Premier League goalscorer this season with 16 goals and is the only player under Maurizio Sarri in double figures.
- Hazard could be named as this season’s Premier League ‘assist king’, he is one behind Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser who sits on 14.
Hazard, who joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012, has just a over a year left on his present contract and despite an impending transfer ban the general feeling is that he’s playing the final games of an illustrious Blues career.
Since turning up in west London he’s played a pivotal role in Chelsea winning two Premier League titles as well as a Europa League title.
If what many predict happens then Maurizio Sarri will have an Eden Hazard hole to fill and according to former Blues left-back Bridge there’s only two active footballers who can seamlessly fill that void.
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“If Chelsea lose Hazard, I don’t know how they could replace him,” he told Goal.
“I couldn’t think who they would sign because Hazard is one of the best players in the world. I would think only Messi or Ronaldo could replace him. I think if they do lose him, they can’t replace him.
“That’s why I worry that Chelsea could struggle even more than they are doing at the moment. He has been a huge part of the club’s season with goals and assists. I would love to see Hazard stay to help the club compete and he has been so good for the league, but we don’t know what will happen.”
A triumphant send-off?
If Hazard is to leave this summer then he’s got a maximum of four matches left in his Chelsea spell. To date he’s made 348 appearances for The Blues registering 108 goals and 88 assists in all competitions.
Remaining for Hazard and company are two Premier League matches: Watford (home) on May 5 and Leicester City (away) on May 12. If they win both then Chelsea will guarantee Champions League football returning to Stamford Bridge next season.
Sandwiched in between those league fixtures is their Europa League semi-final second leg against Eintracht Frankfurt — Sarri’s men hold the advantage having returned from Germany with a 1-1 draw.
If they are to reach the Baku final on May 29 — against city rivals Arsenal or Valencia — then Hazard could, if this is a goodbye, leave with a piece of silverware.