Will Eden Hazard's move to Real Madrid be good for club and player?
By Joe Harker
Belgian superstar Eden Hazard has completed an £88 million move to Real Madrid, marking the end to seven years with Chelsea.
The forward departs the London based club with little ill feeling, having been their best player for many years, and Chelsea have described him as "one of the greatest players" in their history.
Hazard appears to have been given the number seven shirt formerly worn by Cristiano Ronaldo. In many ways he is their attempt at replacing Ronaldo.
Hazard has claimed it is his "childhood dream" to play for Real Madrid, one that will finally be realised next season as he pulls on the famous white shirt.
Having carried Chelsea players for such a long time he will be looking forward to playing with higher quality teammates and challenging for top trophies on a more consistent basis.
Real Madrid will be very happy to see the deal done as they have struggled during the past season without Ronaldo, going through three different managers and finishing 19 points off the top of the league.
The squad is one in dire need of an overhaul, which it appears to be getting this summer. Hazard's arrival should go some way to replacing the goals of Ronaldo while giving them a quality forward they can rely on.
Hazard wanted to move to a bigger club and Real Madrid needed to sign a quality forward, this move satisfies both parties and should be successful.
The Counter Claim:
However, Hazard's outspoken admiration for Barcelona forward Lionel Messi could cause early friction between the player and a notoriously fickle set of supporters, reports the Daily Mirror.
Real Madrid fans aren't the most loyal bunch when it comes to backing players through thick and thin, something Hazard might struggle to adapt to.
Even Ronaldo was jeered at from time to time, perhaps the greatest goalscorer ever to play the game and there was a section of the crowd that would consider booing him.
There are other challenges for Hazard to face, he will be expected to lift the team out of its current malaise and reshape it into one ready to compete for top honours once more.
It was only a year ago that they were winning their third consecutive Champions League title but with the benefit of hindsight the problems were there to see and much work needs to be done.
Hazard's transfer fee, estimated to be around £88 million, puts him in the top 10 of record transfers.
Real Madrid have been working on signing Hazard since 2017, with Zinedine Zidane keen on making the transfer for some time. They had to wait for his contract situation to develop, with Hazard one year from leaving Chelsea on a free transfer.
The future of big player moves in football could increasingly revolve around contracts with one year left to run, putting the onus on clubs to sell up or lose a world class talent for nothing.
Hazard leaves Chelsea a legend, having been their brightest light during his time at the club. A major part in winning them trophies and sparing their blushes during poor periods, his constant excellence has written him into the history books of the Premier League.