With Premier League superstar Eden Hazard rumoured to be set to complete a £100 million (R1.8 billion) transfer to Real Madrid in the next few days, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has had his say on the potential switch.
Hazard, 28, is out of contract next summer and has been persistently linked with a move to Real Madrid, with whose manager, Zinédine Zidane, he shares a longstanding mutual admiration.
An inspired Eden Hazard hit two splendid goals to lift Chelsea to a deserved 2-0 home win over West Ham and up to third in the Premier League.
Asked what he could do to fight to hold on to Hazard, Sarri, 60, told Sky Sports: "I cannot do anything, I think, because the club agrees... The level is so high".
"So I hope that Hazard can stay here, otherwise we have to try something different".
When asked if Hazard has told him he wants to leave, Sarri added: "No".
"We all have to respect his decision", Sarri said.
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Rice has made 34 appearances in all competitions, remarkably playing the full 90 minutes of 29 league matches on the trot, including Monday night's defeat to Chelsea.
Real will qualify for the Champions League next season, which is something Chelsea can not say right now with real conviction, and Hazard would be linking up with his close friend Thibaut Courtois in the Spanish capital.
"But I nearly feel like Hazard has to play for a Real Madrid or a Barcelona".
From a personal point of view, I want to do as well as I can so I can be here for next season.
" But of course we all have to respect his decision I think."We are very lucky because it is very easy to win the match when he is able to make that kind of difference.
Hazard has dropped a number of hints his future lies away from Stamford Bridge in recent months after rumours of Madrid's interest began to surface during the World Cup. They came from a person who cared for me, who wanted my well-being, who saw me suffer during training and saw me sad.