Real Madrid have confirmed the signing of Eden Hazard.
Los Blancos have signed the Chelsea midfielder for an initial £88 million, which could reportedly rise as high as a club-record £130 (or even £150) million with add-ons.
Hazard, 28, has signed a five-year contract with the Spanish giants, and will be officially unveiled on Thursday, June 13th.
He has become Madrid’s second major signing of the summer after the club’s capture of striker Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt as Zinedine Zidane looks to reinvigorate his squad.
The Belgium international joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012, and went on to score 109 goals in 352 appearances for the London club.
Hazard won two Premier League titles, two Europa League finals – including last month’s triumph over Arsenal – one FA Cup and one League Cup during his time with the club.
The 28-year-old has long since established himself as one of the Premier League’s leading talents, and bagged 16 goals and 15 assists last season for Chelsea.
He was also named as Chelsea’s Player of the Year four times.
His final appearance for the club saw him score twice in Chelsea’s 4-1 demolition of Arsenal in the Europa League final.
Chelsea released a statement confirming the transfer, and wished their departing talisman well in the Spanish captial.
“Chelsea Football Club and Real Madrid have reached an agreement for the transfer of Eden Hazard to the Spanish club,” an official statement read.
“The move is subject to the 28-year-old completing a medical and signing his contract with Real.
“Hazard leaves Chelsea as one of the great players in our history. He helped the team win the Premier League on two occasions, the Europa League twice and the FA Cup and League Cup once. He has been voted Chelsea Player of the Year on a record four occasions.”
Chelsea are currently under a two-window transfer ban, and as it stands, are unable to sign an immediate replacement for the Belgian.
Hazard himself addressed the Chelsea fans in a lengthy, emotional post on his personal Facebook page.
“To my Chelsea friends and family,” Hazard wrote.
“You now know that I will be joining Real Madrid. It’s no secret that it was my dream to play for them since I was a young boy just scoring my first goal. I have tried my very best not to distract myself or the team through this difficult period of speculation and media attention, especially the last 6 months.”
In an emotional post, Hazard has described leaving Chelsea as the toughest decision of his career, and says he wouldn’t have left the club for any other team other than Madrid.
“Now the clubs have reached an agreement I hope you understand I had to pursue my next chapter, just as each and every one of you should when you have the chance to pursue your dreams. Leaving Chelsea is the biggest and toughest decision in my career to date. Now it’s in the open I would like to put on record one thing was always clear to me, I have loved every moment at Chelsea and not once did I ever consider, nor would I have left for any other Club.”
Hazard says he is also hoping that Madrid are drawn to face his former club in the Champions League.
“Chelsea and especially Chelsea fans will always be special to me and next season I will look for your results first. I hope that we are drawn against each other in the Champions League next season and every season so we can meet again.”
David is the editor of The Season Ticket.
He is a qualified journalist, and a long-suffering Meath and Liverpool supporter.