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Sarri says Chelsea fans must respect Hazard decision

Chelsea v Slavia Praha - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final : Second Leg

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Maurizio Sarri, Manager of Chelsea speaks with Eden Hazard of Chelsea during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Chelsea and Slavia Praha at Stamford Bridge on April 18, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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Maurizio Sarri stopped short of saying Eden Hazard was on his way out of Stamford Bridge this summer, but he came very close.

Speaking after a 0-0 draw with Leicester City that brought the Blues’ Premier League season to a close, Sarri said Chelsea fans need to appreciate the time Hazard spent at the club and understand he may want to move on.

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“I know very well that Eden tried to do his best for seven seasons at Chelsea,” Sarri said after the match. “He did very well, he has become one of the best two or three players in the world, but I think also that we have to respect him and his decision.”

There are rumors flying of Hazard’s impending move to Real Madrid this summer, so much so that some consider it a foregone conclusions. All signs point in that direction, with Hazard’s contract set to expire next summer and no extension reached as of yet, Chelsea’s purchase of USMNT star Christian Pulisic as well as Madrid’s reported shopping of Gareth Bale.

“I hope of course, like every fan of Chelsea, that he will remain with us,” Sarri added about Hazard. “But at the moment I don’t know.”

If this is indeed Hazard’s last season in London, he would finish his Chelsea career with 352 appearances across all competitions (including the upcoming Europa League final), scoring 108 goals and assisting 91 more. Hazard won the Premier League title with the Blues twice in 2014/15 and 2016/17, winning the Premier League Player of the Season award in the 2014/15 campaign as well. This season, he won the league’s assist title - named the Playmaker of the Season - racking up 15 assists to lead the league. He also won the Europa League once with Chelsea and has the opportunity to do so again with the upcoming final.

The 28-year-old came off the bench in the final league game of the year for the last 25 minutes against Leicester City, with Sarri admitting he rested Hazard as the Europa League final looms.

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