Chelsea breathe sigh of relief as Eden Hazard rules out January move to Real Madrid

Hazard has been in sparkling form all year and is a strong contender to win the Ballon d'Or. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2018
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Chelsea breathe sigh of relief as Eden Hazard rules out January move to Real Madrid

LONDON: Eden Hazard pledged his immediate future to Chelsea ruling out a move to Real Madrid in the January transfer window.
Earlier this week the Belgian playmaker said it remained his dream to play for the Spanish giants. That came after a summer where speculation was rife that the 27-year-old would move to the Bernabeu.
But that, for now at least, has been put on the back burner.
It was put to Hazard that to win the Ballon d’Or — as the world’s best player — he would have to play in Spain.
“That’s why I want to go, maybe,” Hazard said.
Asked if that move might happen in January, he replied: “No.”
Hazard has been instrumental in Chelsea’s unbeaten start under Maurizio Sarri, scoring eight goals in all competitions.
The Belgian was selected the second best player at the World Cup and, after leading his country to third place in Russia, said it “might be time” for a fresh challenge, with Madrid his preferred destination.
Speaking after Chelsea’s 3-0 victory at Southampton on Sunday, he said: “Real Madrid are the best club in the world. I don’t want to lie today. It is my dream since I was a kid. I was dreaming about this club.
“We will see. I don’t want to talk about this every day. I don’t have time but we will talk about my future soon.”
Hazard, whose Chelsea contract runs until June 2020, was asked yesterday whether he is the world’s best player on form and he answered with an unequivocal “yes.” AN


Kashima Antlers set up reunion tie with Real Madrid in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 15 December 2018
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Kashima Antlers set up reunion tie with Real Madrid in FIFA Club World Cup

ABU DHABI: Real Madrid will face Kashima Antlers in Wednesday’s FIFA Club World Cup semifinals after the Asian champions came from behind to beat Mexico’s Guadalajara.
The AFC Champions League winners could not have made a worse start, as the Japanese club fell behind just three minutes into Saturday’s match in Abu Dhabi, with Angel Zaldivar’s header from an Isaac Brizuela cross putting the CONCACAF champions into an early lead.
Guadalajara looked the better side as the half went on, and were unlucky not to extend their lead before half-time, when Orbelin Pineda’s rocket of a shot from distance came crashing off the crossbar.
That proved to be kick-start the J-League side needed to get back into the match, who took full advantage of their good fortune after the interval when Shoma Doi raced into the box to deliver a low ball to midfielder Ryota Nagaki, who grabbed the leveller with a side-footed finish.
Kashima’s second came with twenty minutes remaining, and from the penalty spot after Nagaki drew a clumsy foul in the box from Guadalajar’s Michael Perez.
Serginho tucked away the resulting penalty and Kashima must have thought the game was done and dusted as they doubled their advantage with an exceptional curling shot from Hiroki Abe six minutes from time.
But there was late drama to come when VAR had to be used to award the Mexican side a late spot-kick.
Kwoun Sun-Tae made a fine save to deny Alan Pulido, but was unlucky to see the ball turned into his own net by Hugo Leonardo.
Kashima’s meeting with Real Madrid later this week will be a re-run of the 2016 final, which the Spanish giants won 4-2 after extra-time.
Real will traveled to the UAE after their La Liga match against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.