Soccer

Eden Hazard hits new Real Madrid low as Chelsea hero faces crossroads

Nottingham Forest v Chelsea: Pictures

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Eden Hazard’s Real Madrid career hit a new low on Tuesday night with the Chelsea icon producing a woeful performance against fourth-tier Cacereno in the Copa del Rey. The forward, who was signed to much fanfare for £90million in 2019, has failed to make a mark in Spain and his time with Los Blancos is now reportedly on the brink of ending. 

Hazard has struggled to get into the Real team for much of his near-four years in the Spanish capital. Exciting youngster Vinicius Junior has kept him out of Carlo Ancelotti’s preferred 11. 

The 31-year-old has played just three times in La Liga this season and made only 18 top-flight appearances last term. But Ancelotti handed him a rare start to impress against Spanish minnows Cacereno on Tuesday. 

In a poor team performance against a side that play in the semi-professional Segundo Federation division, Hazard was entirely anonymous and was substituted after 63 minutes. The Spanish media have torn into his display and produced some worrying statistics. 

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Mundo Deportivo report that Hazard did not complete a single dribble, nor did he have a shot on goal. They add that he played in his favourite position but failed to threaten the opposition’s defence. 

Hazard touched the ball just 24 times in the game and managed to lose possession five times. He was hauled off and Real scored their only goal of the game through Rodrygo just six minutes later. 

Real are hoping to terminate Hazard’s contract despite his deal still having 18 months remaining. The report continues that the La Liga outfit are unlikely to do it in January as there is little interest in the player, but his underwhelming spell in Spain will most likely end in the summer. 

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The Belgium international will have much more interest in the summer, and Real will find it easier to replace his vacant squad position. Newcastle and Chelsea have both been linked with moves for Hazard in the past but both clubs have important targets to acquire. 

Saudi-backed Newcastle would have the funds to tempt Hazard to Tyneside but have targeted younger players under Eddie Howe. The Magpies want to unearth hidden gems who can grow under Howe’s excellent coaching. 

Meanwhile, Chelsea want to sign a forward but it is very unlikely to be club legend Hazard – who scored 110 goals in 352 appearances for the Stamford Bridge club. AC Milan attacker Rafael Leao has been linked with Graham Potter’s side, while the Blues are reportedly attempting to hijack Arsenal’s attempts to sign Ukrainian starlet Mykhaylo Mudryk. 

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