Eden Hazard says he “wouldn’t have left Chelsea for any other club” as part of an emotional goodbye to fans as he prepares to head for Real Madrid.
The Belgian’s long-anticipated move to the Bernabeu was finally confirmed on Friday, bringing to an end a seven-year stint with the Blues during which he won two Premier League titles.
He guided Belgium to a third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and followed up with a sparkling start to the Premier League season – form which reignited talk of a move to La Liga.
The transfer could top €140m (£124m/$146m) once add-ons are counted, making Hazard one of the most expensive players in history.
And in a final farewell to the Stamford Bridge faithful, the 28-year-old consoled fans that it was only the draw of the 13-times European champions that lured him away.
“Leaving Chelsea is the biggest and toughest decision in my career to date,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
“Now it’s in the open I would like to put on record one thing was always clear to me, I have loved every moment at Chelsea and not once did I ever consider, nor would I have left for any other club.
“Whether it’s on tour in the USA, or at Sunderland on a Tuesday night, in Russia on a Thursday, or of course EVERY game at the Bridge – you’ve always supported me and encouraged me to play football and be me.
“Chelsea and especially Chelsea fans will always be special to me and next season I will look for your results first. I hope that we are drawn against each other in the Champions League next season and every season so we can meet again.”
Hazard has agreed a five-year contract and will be presented as a Real player on 13 June, subject to passing a medical with the La Liga giants.
The Belgian scored 110 goals in 352 games for Chelsea after joining from Lille in 2012, and scored twice as they won the Europa League final last week with a 4-1 win against Arsenal in Baku.