Former Tottenham star Ryan Mason is “certain” that Eden Hazard will leave Chelsea next summer.
Hazard was courted by Real Madrid this summer, even admitting that he would like to play for Los Blancos.
But Chelsea resisted any approaches for their star man and they are reaping the rewards of that decision now.
Hazard made no secret of his desire to play for Madrid and said when the World Cup in Russia ended: “After six wonderful years at Chelsea it might be time to discover something different. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision – if they want to let me go.
“You know my preferred destination.”
And after a move did not materialise, the Belgian admitted he was happy to carry on at Chelsea, for now, suggesting that he would think about his future again next summer.
“I have two years left on my contract and we’ll see what happens. Leaving this year? I won’t go Let’s see what happens in one or two years,” he added.
The 27-year-old has been on fire since the start of the season, brushing aside any thoughts of fatigue from the World Cup.
He is the Premier League’s top scorer with six goals and has two assists to his name too, helping Chelsea to an unbeaten start to the campaign and third place in the table, just two points behind Manchester City and Liverpool.
And Mason, whose career was cut short by a head injury, believes that if Hazard continues in this form, he will depart Stamford Bridge next summer.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ The Debate, Mason said: “For a number of years he’s been the best player in the Premier League.
“But when I think of the managers he’s played under, he’s played under Mourinho and Conte in the last few years and they’re defence-minded managers and he’s the kind of player that given the freedom, like we’re seeing now with Sarri and the way Chelsea are playing, that’s the way to get the best out of him.
“I’m so happy he stayed in the Premier League. He’s outstanding, a remarkable player.
“But if you’re a player and Real Madrid or Barcelona come knocking, they’re the biggest and best, they’ve proven it for so long and for the last ten, 15, 20 years all the best players in the world have probably come from those clubs, they attract the best, they’re serial winners, so most probably [he does have to leave to be considered the best] and it’s a move I can see happening.
“It didn’t materialise this season, but the way he’s approached this season for sure Real Madrid or Barcelona will come calling.
“He made it clear in some of the interviews, he said a few things about his future, it was almost as if he was saying ‘come and get me’ after the World Cup he had. I feel certain if he carries on replicating this form he’s definitely going to leave.”