Former Chelsea star Eden Hazard is set to make his return to football later this month, but not in the way that many people expected. The 32-year-old was once regarded as one of the best in the world, having risen to stardom with his time at Stamford Bridge, propelling him into the spotlight.
In 352 appearances for the Blues, Hazard scored 110 goals and assisted teammates 92 times to seal his legacy with the club. In those seven-years he spent in west London after leaving LOSC Lille, Hazard won two Premier Leagues, two Europa Leagues, an FA Cup and an EFL Cup.
He was nothing short of the star man, so when he left for Real Madrid in 2019, there was plenty of sadness surrounding the deal. That’s despite the £88million fee received for a star that was ultimately reaching a difficult period in his career, which would be shown further down the line.
Injury issues plagued Hazard’s time at the Santiago Bernabeu, with dwindling minutes eventually resulting in the termination of his contract this summer. It means that the winger is now a free agent and available to pick up on a free transfer, though clubs are yet to do so.
It has led to plenty of discussion and rumours over a potential return to Chelsea in the coming weeks, having been a club legend in his time. While those still swirl, there is a return to football in some capacity soon for Hazard as he is set to feature in a charity match later this month.
While that may complicated any deal he would look to sign in the short-term, beyond that there could still be a place for him somewhere. If that is Stamford Bridge again, then there will have to be something of a wait to see the star man wear the famous blue shirt on the pitch.
That’s due to squad registration restrictions, which states that clubs must submit their 25-player squad by mid-September that cannot be changed. It stops the addition of further signings – though Under-21s are exempt – meaning that there would have to be a wait for the next available moment.
That would be in January when the transfer window opens again for the second half of the season, meaning there would be a few months waiting for Hazard if he were to return. Any deal would see him narrowly miss out on a debut against Luton Town on December 30.
There could be a welcome back in the FA Cup as the third round proper is the first match of the new year, starting from Saturday, January 6. In terms of a Premier League reintroduction, that would come against Fulham at Stamford Bridge on January 13, which would be a warm welcome.
While it still remains to be seen if there is a possible return on the cards, Hazard is yet to rule out both continuing his playing career or retiring.