After Belgium dispatched England and wrapped up third place, their best ever finish at a World Cup, attention has now turned to the club futures of some of their star players, most notably Eden Hazard. Hazard has been one of the standout performers at this tournament and the seemingly annual transfer rumours linking him to Real Madrid appear to be gathering pace this summer, with the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo opening up a spot on Florentino Perez's parade of Galacticos.
After scoring Belgium's second against England, Eden Hazard was interviewed by ITV's Gabriel Clarke who was simply dying to get an answer to the burning question that everyone was waiting for:
Do you think...what if we hadn't beaten England in the group stage, and we'd gone on the other half of the draw, the easier half of the draw, would you be in the final now?
Hazard resisted the urge to respond how many of us would have liked with the words "JESUS....GABRIEL, LET IT GO!" and instead gave a dismissive shrug with the words "pfff...I don't think about that."
Thankfully Clarke's questions moved onto the more relevant topic of Hazard's club future and asked if having had such a wonderful tournament, whether he might be tempted away from the Premier League this summer. Hazard's evasive answer hinted at an openness to the right offer:
I don't know. You know I've spent six (years) in England. I play a good World Cup. In the future you never know what happens so now I will go on holiday and we will see.
The old classic "you never know" line will do little to calm the nerves of Chelsea fans hoping to keep their star man from the clutches of Real Madrid. Unfortunately for them he followed up his ITV interview with slightly more flirtatious comments in the Belgian media:
It might be time to discover something different....you know my preferred destination.
With Neymar having seemingly been ruled out of a move this summer, the Belgian is now second only to Kylian Mbappe in the 'who's probably going to replace Ronaldo' charts. Although with rumours that Gareth Bale may also be heading for the exit door, there may be more than one top level attacker headed for the Bernabéu this summer.
Eden Hazard is not the only Belgian star linked with an imminent move from Chelsea to Real Madrid, with further reports emerging in the Spanish media today that Thibaut Courtois is being lined up for a transfer worth £50 million. With Maurizio Sarri finally taking his position in the Chelsea hot-seat, the make-up of his side next season is very much up in the air.
— Sporting Life Football (@SportingLifeFC) July 14, 2018