Toni Kroos has used Eden Hazard’s disastrous move to Real Madrid as a cautionary tale to Jude Bellingham to not get complacent following his own mega switch to the Bernabeu.
The English teenager has completed an £88.5m deal to the Spanish capital from Borussia Dortmund — with that figure set to rise to £115m if certain add-ons are met. He becomes just the sixth Englishman to play for Los Blancos and has penned a six-year contract.
The deal sees Florentino Perez make Bellingham the club’s second-most expensive transfer ever. His most substantial import remains Eden Hazard from Chelsea in 2019, a move that failed to deliver and ended with a whimper as the Belgian had his contract terminated earlier this month.
A combination of persistent injury issues and problems with his form blighted Hazard’s time at the Bernabeu, as he largely cut a peripheral figure for his four seasons at the club, starting just 30 La Liga games out of a possible 152 in that time.
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Kroos has now called his former team-mate out when reflecting on the news of Bellingham’s arrival. Talking on his podcast, the German midfielder suggested that an extortionate price tag doesn’t automatically translate to success, using the example of Hazard as a forewarning.
He said: “We had another player who came for a lot of money and basically let his career die. It was a lot of money, I think everyone would say that wasn’t a good transfer. But let’s be positive.”
“Jude is a very top player, who many teams wanted due to his quality and age. I usually have great confidence in our decision-makers. If Real Madrid has spent so much, this is a very good transfer for us.”
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Hazard’s original contract was set to expire next summer, but he had it terminated by mutual consent a year early.
A statement from earlier this month read: “Real Madrid Football Club and Eden Hazard have reached an agreement whereby the player will leave the club as of 30 June 2023.
“Eden Hazard has been part of our club for four seasons, during which time he has won 8 titles: 1 European Cup, 1 Club World Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 2 LaLiga titles, 1 Copa del Rey and 2 Spanish Super Cups.
“Real Madrid would like to express our affection to Eden Hazard and we wish him and his family the best of luck for the next stage of his career.”