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    Spanish press goes ballistic over Eden Hazard laughing with Chelsea players

    It’s safe to say that Eden Hazard’s performance in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final defeat to Chelsea hasn’t exactly gone down well in Madrid…

    The injury-plagued Belgian was (surprisingly) given the nod from the start but did next to nothing on the pitch… apart from being caught smiling and joking with a handful of Chelsea players after the final whistle.

    That one image has torn a hole right through the city of Madrid, and it was the subject of a lengthy debate on El Chiringuito (if you aren’t familiar with the show, think Soccer Saturday meets AFTV), who were livid with the whole thing and even claimed that the big cheeses at Real Madrid were just as furious.

    Typically measured host Josep Pederol described Hazard as ‘another Bale’ (harsh on Bale) who is ‘taking the Mickey’ out of Madrid.

    It ended with Pederol claiming Hazard could not spend ‘another second’ at the club. He also added that Real have put Hazard ‘on the market’ after accepting that they were never going to get their money’s worth from the 30-year-old, who arrived from Chelsea in 2019 in a deal worth up to £150m.

    As we all know, Real are looking to raise significant funds to pursue moves for both Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, and Pederol claims the decision has now been taken to add Hazard to the list of potential casualties.

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    It’s worth mentioning amid Pedrerol’s hyperbole that the idea of Madrid selling Hazard has been specifically disputed by Marca. This report acknowledges that the Belgian’s reaction to defeat hasn’t gone down well, but it is claimed that club officials have not given up on him.

    Those higher up at the Bernabeu accept that Hazard needs time to rediscover his best form – “Eden has to play, he has to regain his confidence,” Zidane stressed after the game – and they are drooling at the prospect of seeing him form a devastating trio alongside Mbappe and Karim Benzema. It is specifically said that ‘the club is not going to sell Eden’.

    Eden Hazard, Zinedine Zidane
    Zinedine Zidane is keen to protect Hazard | Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Whether Real are actually looking to offload Hazard is unclear, but what is obvious is that he’s got a lot of work to do to redeem himself after this. He’s lucky fans aren’t expected back in La Liga stadiums this season.

    One key problem with the idea of selling Hazard is the lack of potential buyers. Unless Real are prepared to accept an enormous loss, they’re not going to find any clubs willing to shell out big money on a 30-year-old winger with injury troubles who hasn’t played consistently in over two years.

    This one screams loan move, but aside from clearing up some space in the wage budget, that’s not going to do a lot for club finances…

    For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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