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Hazard could head back to Chelsea as Juve eye Prem duo

Chelsea are exploring the possibility of re-signing Eden Hazard from Real Madrid.

Hazard, 30, cost Real more than £100million when he swapped Stamford Bridge for the Bernabeu in 2019.

But he has failed to live up to expectations and would be allowed to leave if a suitable offer came in.

Reports in Spain say Blues owner Roman Abramovich is convinced Hazard would become a world beater again back in the familiar surroundings of West London.

He made 310 appearances during seven seasons at the Bridge, scoring 110 goals as he lifted the Premier League and Europa League twice, as well as the FA Cup and EFL Cup.

The problem is Real would want to recoup as much of the fee they paid as possible — but Chelsea are unlikely to offer more than £40m for a player who has been beset by injury and fitness problems.

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti is a big fan of Blues full-back Reece James and the suggestion is the Spanish giants may try to factor him into any deal.

James, 21, has not nailed down a regular starting spot since Thomas Tuchel took charge last season but it is unlikely Chelsea would want to sell the England international.

Juventus are ready to raid Manchester as they look to win back the Serie A title.

Max Allegri’s side have made a poor start to the domestic campaign after failing to win the league for the first time in 10 years in 2020-21.

Now reports in Italy suggest they want to sign both Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva and Manchester United’s Donny van de Beek in January.

Silva, 27, has been one of City’s best players this season but wanted to leave the Etihad before the summer transfer window slammed shut.

Whether or not his starring role in the past two months has changed matters remains to be seen — and Pep Guardiola will not want to lose the Portuguese maestro.

For Van de Beek, 24, it has been a miserable 15 months since swapping Ajax for Old Trafford.

Only four of his 17 starts for United have come in the Premier League and he was linked with an exit throughout the window.

Both deals would be loans, though the suggestion is they may come with obligations to buy at the end of the season.
In other news

Manchester United are interested in Leicester midfielder Wilfried Ndidi, according to Spanish outlet Fichajes.

The Sun say United will make Jesse Lingard available for £15m in January if he fails to extend his stay at Old Trafford, with his contract expiring next year.

Alexandre Lacazette has no intention of signing a new deal at Arsenal, according to Football.London, with his current contract running out at the end of the season.

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Eden Hazard has apologised to Real Madrid supporters after criticism aimed his way following the defeat to Chelsea FC in the Champions League semi-final.

Los Blancos headed to Stamford Bridge after a 1-1 draw in the first leg, but were easily beaten 2-0 by the Blues, who could realistically have doubled their tally on the night.

Hazard, meanwhile, was as ineffective as most of the rest of his team-mates, so drew the ire of some for his lacklustre showing against his old side – but it was his post-match antics which upset others.

After full time he was pictured talking and joking with former team-mates, with a vocal few on social media calling for him to be sold and the Spanish media going all-in on their disappointment of the Belgian, with TV show El Chiringuito front and centre among them.

One clip circulating on social media showed presenter Josep Pedrerol venting at Hazard – complete with damning background music and sighs of seriousness before he began talking – suggesting that he was “laughing” at Real Madrid supporters and didn’t deserve to continue at the club, comparing his perceived lack of commitment to the cause to that of Gareth Bale.

Hazard himself has responded with a post on his Instagram story, writing a short message of apology.

“I am sorry. I have read lots of opinions about me today and it was not my intention to offend any Real Madrid fans,” Hazard wrote.

“It has always been my dream to play for Real Madrid and I came here to win. The season is not over and together we must battle for La Liga! Hala Madrid!”

After their exit from Europe, Real are now in a three-way battle for the title in Spain.

They sit second, two points behind city rivals Atletico Madrid and level on points with third-place Barcelona. Sevilla are four points back, with their own title hopes hit by a defeat last time out.

All four clubs have four matches remaining, with no further cup or Continental distractions for any of them.

Barcelona are at home to Atletico on Saturday afternoon in one pivotal clash, before Real host Sevilla on Sunday night in another.

Hazard has made just seven league starts this season due to several injuries, scoring twice and claiming one assist.

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Real Madrid star Eden Hazard has given manager Zinedine Zidane another injury headache after he was forced off injured after 28 minutes away at Alaves.

The Belgian international pulled after seeing his shot blocked inside the Alaves box and immediately signalled his discomfort to the bench.

Zidane opted to substitute the Belgian star to avoid any further damage, with Brazilian teenager Rodrygo Goes sent on as his replacement.

Hazard has endured a miserable time with injuries following his 2019 move to the Santiago Bernabeu from Premier League giants Chelsea.

He missed a total of 24 games during Real Madrid’s La Liga title win in 2019/20, with the club opting to send him for surgery on a broken foot at the start of 2020.

The 29-year old also missed the start of the current campaign after suffering a serious of minor injuries over the summer, before being sidelined for two weeks in September after testing positive Covid-19.

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Karim Benzema became Real Madrid’s fifth all-time leading goalscorer with a double in a victory over Valencia, which closed the gap on league leaders Barcelona to two points.

Benzema, 32, has now netted 243 goals in all competitions for Real, overtaking Ferenc Puskas’ tally.

Ex-Chelsea forward Eden Hazard set up his first goal on the hour before Benzema scored a stunning late volley.

Substitute Marco Asensio scored Real’s second with his first touch.

Benzema’s second goal, which came deep into the second half, was a superb piece of skill, involving a flick and volley which caused manager Zinedine Zidane to put his head in his hands in disbelief.

The Frenchman’s goal, assisted by substitute Asensio, capped off a brilliant second-half performance from Real.

Spaniard Asensio, who suffered a knee injury last summer and has missed almost the entirety of this season, came on in the 73rd minute and guided a volley from Ferland Mendy’s cross into the net 30 seconds later to make it 2-0.

Real Madrid’s all-time top scorers in all competitions
1) Cristiano Ronaldo – 4504) Santillana – 290
2) Raul – 3235) Karim Benzema – 243
3) Alfredo Di Stefano – 3086) Ferenc Puskas – 242

But Benzema’s volley was a contender for goal of the season and confirmed his place among some of the greatest strikers in Real’s history.

There was plenty of positives for Hazard too – his partnership with Benzema is blossoming and his assist for the Frenchman’s first set Real on their way.

Hazard, who joined from Chelsea for £150m in June 2019, had several shots on target in the first half but could not get the better of Valencia keeper Jasper Cillessen, who was in good form all evening.

And it was Valencia who thought they had struck first at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium – Real’s training ground – when Rodrigo had a goal ruled out for offside by VAR.

That decision, which saw referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez go over to the VAR screen at the side of the pitch, came moments after Rodrigo struck the outside of the right post.

But Real dominated after the break and it went from bad to worse for Valencia when substitute Lee Kang-In was shown a straight red card for several kicks at Sergio Ramos.

The result means Real Madrid sit two points behind Barcelona in second place ahead of their next game on Sunday away to Real Sociedad, while Barcelona travel to Sevilla on Friday