Eden Hazard’s chances of a fairytale return to Stamford Bridge look increasingly unlikely after the Belgian turned 32 on Saturday. He’s only played 98 minutes of league action this season for Real Madrid and is looking for a way out following a disastrous move to Real Madrid in 2019. It is almost 11 years since he signed for Chelsea in 2012 and neither party has had things go their way since they went separate ways three and a half years ago.
Although the Blues won the Champions League in 2021 they have fallen further and further behind the teams at the top of the table. As for Hazard, he has scored seven times since moving for over £100m and has played just 73 games. His time in Madrid has been plagued by injury and things are crawling to an end it seems. Newcastle and Chelsea have both been linked with bringing him back to England but nothing has come from it.
Reports of a potential loan move to ease the burden or of a cut-price deal for an ageing player have consistently done the rounds but as of yet no club has bitten. Despite Madrid being willing to let him go from 2021 onwards that now appears to be a pipe dream and Chelsea fans aren’t likely to see their previous hero in blue again. At 32 Hazard is the answer to very few questions. He doesn’t have the same speed, fitness or skill that made him one of the Premier League’s best players throughout the 2010s.
Newcastle themselves have moved on and possess a younger, hungrier team than in previous years whilst one of Chelsea’s issues that has led them to their downfall this season has been signing players past their peak and without much planning. In 2023 Hazard has a decision to make and it doesn’t appear that Chelsea are about to swoop in and offer him a solution.
According to the Athletic, Hazard will discuss his future with his agents in February though no approaches have been made. Hazard has already announced his international retirement after failing to lead his Belgium side out of the group stages at the World Cup and will be deciding how to plan for the twilight of his career. With Potter himself looking to create an ambitious group of young players with speed and energy the final ship for Hazard’s return may well have sailed.