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This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

Eden Hazard decided to join Real Madrid in January, according to The Athletic.

What’s the story?

Hazard had seven successful seasons at Stamford Bridge, winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and two Europe League titles, and in his final campaign, he was easily the club’s best player in the top-flight, with a WhoScored rating of 7.81.

Throughout his time with Chelsea, though, he was constantly linked with a move to join the Liga club. He finally made the switch during the most recent transfer window, and it seems he had his mind set on a transfer to the Bernabeu as early as January.

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A stellar professional

One will find it hard to remember when the departure of a player from Chelsea was felt so strongly. The Belgium international was, quite frankly, sublime last season for the south-west London outfit, netting 21 goals and providing 17 assists across all competitions.

Even the most ardent Blues fan will admit that it always seemed likely the former Lille man would move to Real at some point, given their policy of signing Galacticos like Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Thibaut Courtois in recent seasons.

If it is true that he had already decided to leave in January, then he can only be commended for his performances and dedication to his former employers during the second half of the season. In 2019, he bagged nine times and provided eight assists. That included vital goals against Wolves and West Ham, as well as a brace and an assist in the Europa League final. He scored against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semi-final, too.

Although his departure may have already been on the cards at the start of the year, he acted as a true professional and did not let his mind wander. He remained committed to the Chelsea cause, and even managed to end on the high of a trophy with the Europa League.

After all he did for the club, and the way he conducted himself in the latter stages of his time in England, that was the least he deserved.

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Jonathan Radcliffe