The Chelsea ace is set to arrive this summer but the Belgian winger’s arrival won’t be enough to restore los Blancos to their former glory
Real Madrid fans made it clear as early as the third minute.
Gareth Bale let a ball skip away from him and Madrid fans whistled the Welsh star, whose numerous winning goals in some of the club’s most important games now count for nothing among supporters at the Santiago Bernabeu.
They are fed up of Bale and eager for a new face, a new superstar more accurately, to breathe life into a team that has lost its way this season.
The chose superstar is Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who was plastered across the front pages in the Spanish capital on Saturday, casting a shadow over the team’s 2-1 win over Eibar.
It was Zinedine Zidane’s 100th league match in charge of Real Madrid – but be one of the most forgettable.
The team haven’t always played well under him, but it’s distressing to see a Madrid side play with so little desire – two-goal Karim Benzema excepted.
Of course, Madrid are in no man’s land right now, with no chance of winning the Liga title.
They are 10 behind leaders Barcelona – for the time being at least – while the 13-point cushion they have on fourth-placed Getafe will surely prevent them from slipping any further down the standings, no matter how poorly they perform.
Hearts and minds have turned to the summer and the reinforcements which the club must make to bolster a team which has collapsed.
Selling Bale and reinvesting that money in Belgian winger Hazard will not solve all Madrid’s problems, but it would be a start.
“He’s a player I have always appreciated. He is fantastic,” Zidane said of Hazard on Friday, amid speculation in Spain that the Belgian’s transfer from Chelsea will be finalised in the coming days.
“He has played in France, I have watched him a lot and I know him personally.”
Hazard, who signed for Chelsea from Lille, would enjoy a very productive relationship with Benzema.
Just as Hazard loves playing with Olivier Giroud at Chelsea, Benzema’s hard work and quality on the ball would prove just as conducive to extracting the very best out of the Belgium international.
And Hazard would give something back too. Benzema is still top-level striker. If anything, at 31, he is playing better than he has in many years and Hazard would help prolong his career at Real.
The winger would draw heat from the defenders, leaving Benzema more room to work his magic.
Bale, sadly, no longer seems to worry La Liga defenders in the same way and cuts a frustrated figure for the duration of Real games these days.
The forward missed a one-on-one against Eibar, and even though he was later ruled offside, fans shook their heads in knowing disappointment.
Madrid’s stadium was half-full, and it seemed like those who did turn up were there primarily to tut and jeer, rather than support the players who have racked up a historic four Champions League wins in five years.
They are ready for a reboot led by Hazard, but this match also showed the team can be improved in virtually every area of the field.
Keylor Navas might have done better for Eibar’s opening goal, going down too early, with Marc Cardona lofting the ball over him six minutes before the break to finish off a sumptuous team move.
Raphael Varane, who is weighing up his future at Madrid, looked distracted, while Alvaro Odriozola left an ocean of space in behind for Cardona’s goal.
The midfield failed to take control of the game and for long periods it looked like Eibar were going to earn an historic first ever win at the Bernabeu.
Benzema, wired, changed the story singlehandedly. He could have scored a hatful of goals. He bagged two, had another couple disallowed, missed a pair of sitters and then hit the post in the dying seconds.
And this was during a mediocre Madrid performance. Imagine how good he would be with a foil like Hazard!
The Bernabeu’s treatment of Bale is difficult to defend but the cold, hard reality is that the people have spoken: they want the Welshman out. And they want Hazard in.
Neither deal can some soon enough as far as the fans are concerned.
Chelsea confirm deal for 20-year-old striker
Chelsea have confirmed a new long-term deal for 20-year-old striker, Armando Broja.
The new deal will see Broja remain at Chelsea until 2026.
Chelsea disclosed this in a statement via their website on Sunday.
The statement read, “Armando Broja has signed a new long-term contract at Chelsea FC that commits him to Stamford Bridge until at least the summer of 2026.
“The young striker, who will turn 20 in September, spent last season on loan in the Eredivisie with Vitesse Arnhem, where he made 34 appearances.”
Reacting, Broja said: “I’m really excited to be signing a new contract with Chelsea.
“Having come through the Academy here it was a special moment for me to make my first-team debut last year, before gaining further experience on loan at Vitesse last season.
“I want to build on these foundations and I’m really looking forward to progressing and making an impact.”
Saliba breaks silence after leaving Arsenal on loan to Marseille
William Saliba has said he is joining “one of the great French clubs” in Marseille after sealing his latest loan spell away from Arsenal.
The 20-year-old was signed by the Gunners for £27m in 2019.
But Saliba is yet to make a single appearance for the Premier League club and is now beginning his third loan move away from north London.
He was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne after signing for Arsenal, before spending the second half of last season at Nice.
Saliba has now signed up for the 2021/2022 campaign with Marseille.
“I am very proud to join one of the best French clubs.
“I cannot wait to be on the Orange Vélodrome pitch. Where I am from, in Paris, lots of those close to me are for Marseille, I am proud to wear this shirt,” Saliba told Marseille’s official website.
England vs Italy: UEFA receives petitions to replay Euro 2020 final
Some England fans have started a petition, asking that UEFA order a replay of the Euro 2020 final.
They feel the defeat to Italy on penalties was “unfair”, according to the Daily Mail.
Italy have been accused of playing “dirty”, after their captain Giorgio Chiellini pulled on Bukayo Saka’s collar, dragging him onto the pitch in the latter stages of the game.
While some fans have taken to social media to insist he deserved a red card for the move, he eventually got away with a yellow.
The refereeing decisions have been widely disputed since and a number of England fans have taken it upon themselves to start up petitions.
One petition, in its description, outlines: “Bukayo Saka was mistreated during the match between England and Italy as he was dragged down by his shirt by Giorgio Cheiellini and given a yellow card when it CLEARLY should’ve been a red card. I do strongly believe that the referee was biased and in favour of Italy.”
Another argues Chiellini should have been given a red card, and that a rematch should take place with a “non-biased referee”.
Currently, there are several petitions that exist, but they are struggling to gain any substantial traction.
Of the five petitions so far, one is approaching 1,500 signatures, while the others have meagre numbers.
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