Eden Hazard deserves credit for honesty as Chelsea career winds down
Background Image Via: Wikimedia Commons/Lachlan Fearnley. CC BY 4.0.
In the modern-day game, players and managers alike tend to remain tight-lipped in regards to transfers. Usually, you'll see a robot-like answer given, something along the likes of 'I'm only focused on playing for [insert club here] right now". Quite frankly it's boring - but that's what we've all become accustomed to hearing.
That's why what happened on Wednesday night was so refreshing. During his post-match interview following Europa League glory, you could tell that Eden Hazard wanted to lift the lid on his future. Somewhat shockingly, the former LOSC Lille man admitted that Chelsea's 4-1 victory against Arsenal in Baku was likely his last appearance for The Blues.
Credit to BT Sport reporter Daniel Currie by the way, who did his job wonderfully well - pressing the Belgian into an answer. And I'm not buying that 'he forced him into speaking when he didn't want to' stuff, either. If the 27-year-old didn't want to speak, quite simply, he wouldn't have.
They say that honesty is the best policy, but footballers tend to buck that trend by saying they're happy where they are - only to move to a new club just a week or so later. Hazard has immediately stopped all the paper gossip swirling in regards to his future. Everyone now knows his desires a move away from Stamford Bridge, we won't be inundated with a new 'update' when we wake up and read the paper with our morning coffee. His intentions are as clear as day. Whether or not Chelsea will willingly sell him is a question for another day entirely, mind...
They say that Real Madrid is Hazard's likely destination, although where he ends up is somewhat irrelevant to the point I'm trying to make. Hazard has tried to be open and honest about his future all season. Why should he be punished and remain at a place he doesn't want to due to Chelsea's incompetent rule-breaking that has seen a transfer ban placed upon them? Now I think about it, that's probably why a move for Christian Pulisic was completed back in January.
Somewhat unexpectedly, I'm yet to see any real fan furore from Chelsea supporters directed at Hazard. Even they likely knew this day was going to come, they're just glad that this saga isn't going to rumble on all summer long. Now, they'll be none of that 'Will he stay? Will he go?' Malarky. The Londoners know exactly where they stand and although they obviously would have wanted to keep him, his brutal honesty is good for them, too...
Hazard has graced these shores with his sheer brilliance for seven seasons, winning six trophies along the way while boasting an individual honours list longer than your arm. We should be grateful that he stayed at Chelsea for so long as it can be argued he could have made the switch away from Stamford Bridge far sooner than this summer.
Back in 2012 when rumours about his future were swirling, the 'I'm signing for the Champions League winner' tweet didn't go down all-too-well. He was viewed as a young pretender getting too big for his boots. That may well have been true, but over a half-decade later, we've seen the boy grow into a man and this time around, everyone appreciates his openness about his future. He's shown class, maturity and real professionalism which is a rare commodity in this day and age. That's why he should be applauded and allowed to sail off into the Spanish sunset...