Chelsea have been urged to respect Eden Hazard’s wishes when it comes to a summer transfer, with Frank Lampard saying the Blues should not block the Belgian’s path if he wants to leave.
Speculation continues to suggest that the 28-year-old is destined to link up with Real Madrid.
Hazard has made no secret of his admiration for the Blancos and admitted to being keen on testing himself in Spain as he seeks to earn Ballon d’Or recognition.
He is about to enter the final 12 months of his contract at Stamford Bridge and has offered no indication that he will be committing to fresh terms.
Chelsea, as a result, have a big decision to make on his future, despite the threat of a two-window transfer ban hanging over them.
Club legend Lampard believes the Blues should allow a man who has given seven years of loyal service to the club the chance to dictate what happens in the next window.
The former midfielder, who is currently chasing down promotion to the Premier League as manager of Derby, said of a protracted saga: “I would certainly say that in the seven years Eden Hazard has been at Chelsea he’s elevated himself to one of the great players in their history, without a doubt, in terms of what he’s done on the pitch.
“It would be a shame for the Premier League and for Chelsea to lose him.
“But we have to also understand the individual's wants and desires on the pitch and what they want to do.
“I actually don’t know [whether Hazard will leave]. The signs are that he might be leaving, it seems, if the clubs can agree on that and if that’s what the player wants.
“I know Eden and I like him and I would go by what he wants to do.”
Hazard has taken in over 350 appearances for Chelsea during his time in west London.
It could be that his final outing for the club delivers another triumph in continental competition, with Chelsea set to face domestic rivals Arsenal in the 2019 Europa League final on May 29 in Baku.