Eden Hazard is poised to leave Chelsea to sign for Real Madrid, according to former Blues player Brian Laudrup.
Los Blancos sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus in a €100 million (£88m/$117m) deal earlier this week that caused shockwaves around the footballing world.
A number of players have been tipped to fill the void left by the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, including Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, though Madrid have been forced to publicly deny any bid for either.
Hazard, who may play in Belgium’s third-fourth World Cup playoff against England on Saturday, is the other hot track, and Laudrup believes that the deal could be as good as done to take the 27-year-old former Lille star to the Bernabeu.
“I’ve spoken to Eden Hazard a few days ago, he is preparing for a move to Real Madrid and it is good move both for him and for Real,” the 1992 European champion told Sportske Novosti of the Belgium international, who has lit up World Cup 2018 with his skills. “Again in Russia he proved how good he is.”
Speaking previously to beIN SPORTS, Hazard hinted that the move would be of interest to him, but only after the competition in Russia is over.
“I think Real is everyone’s dream,” he said. “For now, it’s the World Cup. As I have said at least 100 times, I am at Chelsea and for the moment nobody has made me an offer.”
Meanwhile, national team boss Roberto Martinez suggested on Friday that Hazard is easily capable of playing at a club like Madrid.
“It’s a very easy question for me, he is one of the most complete footballers in the modern game now,” Martinez told reporters. “Everyone speaks about footballers and about what they can do on the pitch, and rightly so it is very easy to assess what Eden Hazard does on the pitch.
“He’s one of the best footballers in one-v-ones, brings an understanding of how to break defensive systems down, he’s got an incredible coordination right and left. The biggest aspect I can tell you that not many people know is his incredible personality and leadership.
“He leads in the box and in scoring goals. He never drops his standards, he’s a team player with a winning mentality and he can play for any demanding club in the world. Now, with the maturity that he has, you can build a winning project around him.”
The situation has been complicated at Stamford Bridge for the Belgian for several months, with speculation that manager Antonio Conte would be sacked finally ending on Friday when he was relieved of his position four days after beginning pre-season training with the team.
Former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri has taken over the post, signing a three-year contract, and changes are abound for the London side. Several of their players are still in a state of limbo, while the new boss has already outlined his transfer plans to the board regarding figures he would like to sign for his project.
Chelsea play in the Europa League instead of the Champions League this season, having finished fifth in the Premier League last term.