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Eden Hazard’s likely departure to Real Madrid had been coming as Chelsea eventually let the Belgian leave to Spain at the end of the season.
Prior to the Europa League final, Hazard had revealed that he’d love to win the Europa League for the Chelsea fans as his farewell gift to the club. And Hazard did just that as he scored a brace in the final as Chelsea defeated Arsenal 4-1 in the final at Baku, with Hazard lifting the Europa League for the second time.
Chelsea and Real Madrid agreed a £88m fee for Hazard, but the Blues could receive up to £130million for Hazard should he meet a number of performance related targets.
Chelsea defender Emerson Palmieri has now revealed that Hazard immediately left the team’s Whatsapp group just after the Europa League triumph even before the deal was sealed. He dropped a goodbye message and left the group, without waiting to get messages from his team-mates.
“On the WhatsApp group, the last move there was Hazard’s farewell,” Emerson told ESPN Brazil.
“He said goodbye to the boys and such, since then, we don’t know anything else. It’s weird. ‘He sent a ‘thank you, I love you guys’, and then it showed ‘Eden Hazard left the group’.
“I said damn, he really left.”
While Hazard’s message was a warm one, he certainly didn’t hang around to get any replies from his now former team-mates.
But the Chelsea hero who became a fan’s favourite after seven years at the club left a much more lengthy and emotional farewell message to the fans who didn’t want him to go.
In his message to Chelsea fans, Hazard said: “To my Chelsea friends and family.
“You now know that I will be joining Real Madrid. It’s no secret that it was my dream to play for them since I was a young boy just scoring my first goal. I have tried my very best not to distract myself or the team through this difficult period of speculation and media attention, especially the last 6 months.
“Now the Clubs have reached an agreement I hope you understand I had to pursue my next chapter, just as each and every one of you should when you have the chance to pursue your dreams. Leaving Chelsea is the biggest and toughest decision in my career to date. Now it’s in the open I would like to put on record one thing was always clear to me, I have loved every moment at Chelsea and not once did I ever consider, nor would I have left for any other Club.
“I was only 21 when I joined, so I have grown up as a man and a player with all of you, you have helped me become Captain of the Belgium National team after all. There have of course been tough times, for the team as a whole and for me personally, this is professional football. However, football to me is about having a ball at my feet, playing games and enjoying every moment, we are lucky to play the beautiful game and this is always my advice to those who ask for a coaching tip! Play football and have fun!
“Even when we were not playing well, I tried to do my best and this has been thanks to your amazing support. That fighting spirit, desire and the refusal to ever give up is part of the culture here at Chelsea and it comes directly from you.
“When I think back over my special moments in a Chelsea shirt, there are so many, we are lucky to win many more games than we have lost. Those who know me understand it is not me to list what I have won, all I can say is each and every award both as a team and as an individual have been incredible. One day I will be able to sit down over a beer and talk about or laugh with pride about my missed penalty that set up my header to win the league against Palace, or those goals against Tottenham, Arsenal or Liverpool.
“The memories are so vivid because of the atmosphere and occasion you create, I hope you always remember them with pride, as I do. Whether it’s on tour in the USA, or at Sunderland on a Tuesday night, in Russia on a Thursday, or of course EVERY game at The Bridge – you’ve always supported me and encouraged me to play football and be me – Like I have enjoyed myself I hope you have enjoyed yourselves, I am only sorry not leave with a defending award amongst my honours!
“We have many great players and my proudest moments were always as part of the team. We’ve won the FA Cup, League Cups, Europa Leagues and Premier Leagues all as a family. Each one so special in its own way and of course the game in Baku a couple of weeks ago is the perfect way to sign off from a long tough season after the World Cup.
“Chelsea and especially Chelsea fans will always be special to me and next season I will look for your results first. I hope that we are drawn against each other in the Champions League next season and every season so we can meet again.
“Before I go, one last thank you to everyone at the Club for their tremendous effort as we lived through every moment. To all of my ex-Colleagues we will say our goodbyes at the right time but I must thank the owner Mr Abramovich and his board for helping me realise not one, but two dreams, my first in becoming a Chelsea player and today my second, becoming a player at Real Madrid.
“I wish each and every one of you the very best my friends.”