Emerson admits Chelsea are 'afraid' of Hazard exit as Real Madrid rumours rage

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The Belgium international continues to be heavily linked with a big-money move to Spain, but those at Stamford Bridge are hoping he will stay put

Chelsea defender Emerson admits the Blues are “afraid” that Eden Hazard could leave the club, with reports of interest from Real Madrid refusing to go away.

The Belgium international has been heavily linked with a big-money move to Spain for some time, with Goal revealing that a £100 million ($132m) move is being pieced together.

He has fuelled that speculation himself on a regular basis, with the 28-year-old making no secret of his admiration for those at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Hazard is also yet to commit to a new contract at Chelsea, with his current deal due to expire in 2020.

The Blues may need to make a decision on his future over the summer, despite entering a two-window transfer ban, as the Premier League outfit cannot risk seeing him walk away for nothing.

Emerson is still hoping that his talented team-mate can be convinced to stay put, but admits the threat of an impending exit is causing nervous tension among some in west London.

He told Sky Sports: “He shows every day how important he is.

“Obviously we have many players of quality in our team but he is on another level, and is one of the best in the world.

“I personally cannot see him leaving, but you never know in football. Like Chelsea fans, we are afraid that he might leave, I still believe that he will stay and we really want him to stay.”

Emerson Palmieri Chelsea

Emerson has found himself operating alongside Hazard on a more regular basis of late, with Maurizio Sarri bringing the Italy international into his plans for the Carabao Cup final and three Premier League fixtures.

“When I first arrived in January, I was coming back from a serious knee injury,” said the 24-year-old full-back of his time in England.

“I needed to get back into training, I needed to get match fit.

“I needed to settle in, new city, new club, new team-mates, this season I am playing a lot more. Any player will tell you that when you are playing a lot more, the more you feel part of the project.

“I think I have progressed in the speed of play. In the Premier League it is so much faster, you cannot really have two touches on the ball before you get two or three opponents on you. This is something I have grown on, learned to play the ball faster and be more aggressive.”

Emerson is now setting his sights on a positive end to the season, with Chelsea chasing down a top-four finish as they sit just three points off the pace with nine games remaining.

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He added: “It is not nine games we have got left, it is nine cup finals.

“We are very confident we are going to make it, at the weekend we dropped points, but we are confident we can make up for it and remedy the situation.

“Our objective is to win the nine games, starting with Everton on Sunday, and get and stay in the top four. We keep saying we need to be in the top four.”

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