Ronaldo's sidekick or Chelsea's superhero? Hazard should stay at Stamford Bridge

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The European champions want to make the Belgian their newest Galactico but he can enjoy both success and a quiet life in west London


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Stay or hit? In this particular game of blackjack, it seems as if Eden Hazard cannot lose. On the one hand, he can stick with Chelsea and go on to achieve legendary status at Stamford Bridge.

On the other, he can leave for Real Madrid, where he would get to play for his childhood idol, Zinedine Zidane, and alongside arguably the greatest player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo.

It looks like a win-win situation for the brilliant Belgian.

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Of course, it is easy to see why Hazard is in such an enviable position. He is young, dynamic and marketable - essentially, everything that Real seek in a 'Galactico'. Every kid dreams of slaloming through defences like the 26-year-old winger.

Indeed, no player, not even Neymar or Lionel Messi, has taken on more players in Europe's 'Big Five' leagues since the start of the 2014-15 season than Hazard (388). He has 119 this term alone.

Chelsea GFX

His dribbling skills go viral again and again. As one tweet so amusingly put it, Hazard "ended the career of Chris Smalling" with a stunning piece of skill that lit up an otherwise dour, defensive FA Cup quarter-final between Chelsea and Manchester United earlier this month. 

He had been systematically fouled throughout the 90 minutes by Jose Mourinho's men but Hazard's moment of genius is what most thrill-seekers took away from the game.

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Essentially, Hazard is the most exciting player in the most exciting league in the world. Given that is a title previously held by both Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, it is not in the least bit surprising that Real dream of uniting all three in the Spanish capital.

Of course, the obvious question is: where would Hazard fit in? But, then, Florentino Perez has never previously allowed tactical issues to get in the way of a chance to sign a superstar.

Besides, Perez believes that Hazard could be accommodated in the same starting line-up as the BBC (Karim Benzema, Bale and Cristiano), although James Rodriguez knows that is easier said than done.

Chelsea GFX

Hazard is a different player to the Colombian, of course, but he would still be joining a team, and indeed a club, that still revolves around Ronaldo. The Portugal international may be 32 but he has not yet given any indication that he will soon be ready to give up his part as Real's leading man.

That should be a significant factor in Hazard's thinking, because that is a role that he currently occupies at Chelsea. Indeed, the Blues have already done an excellent job of making their most valuable asset feel comfortable on and off the pitch.

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Hazard is happy in west London, where he is set to claim a second Premier League title in three seasons. He believes that Chelsea are more than capable of helping him realise his dream of winning the Champions League.

Indeed, the ambitious Blues are already planning for next season and they have made Arsenal ace Alexis Sanchez their primary summer transfer target. Even if the Chilean winger arrives, though, Hazard will still be the main man at Stamford Bridge.

The former Lille starlet is central to Antonio Conte's plans, with the Italian coach having implemented a system designed to give Hazard even more freedom on the pitch by offering him protection and cover from both wing-back and central midfield.

Chelsea GFX

However, despite holding special status at the club, Hazard is a humble family man who is not obsessed with success on the pitch. He switches off easily after games and he seems unburdened by the limelight that his talent brings.

He focuses on his domestic duties having been lucky enough to have had a stable upbringing in his native Belgium and he now has three kids of his own. They are his priority and, as he outlined in a recent interview with his club's official website, they are happy in England.

"[After I retire] maybe I will live in Belgium, to be close to the family," he mused. "Or else I could go somewhere with nice weather!

"But my kids are very settled in London so it could be here. That’s a long way off yet, though, so we will see."

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Madrid is a great temptation for any footballer but Hazard clearly finds contentment in his private life. Some may say that he lacks ambition but he is all the more human and relatable for being grounded - whereas some of his rivals work hard to portray a superhero image. 

Hazard is more of an accidental superhero, one who has already netted 11 times this season and is, thus, on course to break his best goals tally for a single season (14) since arriving in the Premier League in 2012. His 0.42 goals-per-game ratio for Chelsea is better than most out-and-out strikers.

His numbers are fantastic and, if he decides to stay, he could even end up in the top three Chelsea goalscorers and assist-makers in the Premier League era before he retires. After that, he could look forward to retiring to the privacy of a leafy suburb of London for the post-football peace and quiet that he will have earned.

Stay or hit? Hazard doesn't seem much like a gambling man...

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