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'Why would he leave now?' – De Bruyne expects Hazard to delay Madrid move

4:15 PM WAT 07/06/2019
Eden Hazard & Kevin De Bruyne - cropped
The playmaker is reportedly closing in on a switch from Chelsea to the Blancos, but his Belgium team-mate does not expect an imminent announcement

Kevin De Bruyne does not expect Belgium team-mate Eden Hazard to finalise a switch to Real Madrid until next week at the earliest.

The Chelsea forward hinted after scoring a brace in last week's Europa League final win over Arsenal that he had played his final game for the club.

And rumours surfaced on Thursday suggesting that an agreement had been reached between Madrid and Chelsea worth an initial £88 million ($112m), with confirmation soon to follow.

Hazard is currently away on international duty with Belgium, however, with a couple of Euro 2020 qualifiers to come at home to Kazakhstan and Scotland over the next four days, and De Bruyne believes the 28-year-old's full focus is on the Red Devils. 

"First and foremost, Eden is still the same," he said at a media conference on Friday. "We are all professional here. Everyone has played with transfer problems. He is not the first and will not be the last. We are not busy with his transfer.

"He knows what to do. He has to work for a few more days and then he also has a vacation. Then he has enough time to arrange everything. 

"If the transfer comes, it won't be in the next four or five days. Why would he do that? Why would he take that risk? Now everyone is watching him."

Opening up on his own switch from Wolfsburg to Manchester City in 2015, De Bruyne added: "We worked on it for months, but I waited until I was free to go there. That will happen now. 

"Not much is played, so the journalists have a lot of time for Eden Hazard. He is now the story, so he will wait a while." 

Hazard is coming off the back of his most productive campaign in seven seasons at Chelsea as he scored 21 times in all competitions and laid on 17 assists – form that has led to talk he could be in contention to win this year's Ballon d'Or award.

But De Bruyne does not necessarily see the Hazard's chances of winning the individual accolade improving should he leave Stamford Bridge. 

"I do not know if he will be a leader [at Madrid] immediately," he said. "There are other leaders there already, so he will not immediately become a captain. 

"His Ballon d'Or hopes remain the same. Real Madrid is a bigger name than Chelsea, but if he plays like this season, he has a chance."