Chelsea legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink believes the prospect of playing under Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid may prove to be too tempting for Eden Hazard to turn down.
Zidane’s return to the Santiago Bernabeu dugout has intensified rumours over a possible summer move for Hazard, who expressed his delight over the Frenchman’s Real comeback this week.
The Belgian winger has refused to hold talks over a contract extension at Chelsea, despite the fact his current deal expires next year.
And, in light of FIFA’s two-transfer window ban, the Blues must now decide whether or not to sell Hazard this summer for around £100m or risk losing him for nothing at the end of the next term.
But Hasselbaink fears the lure of working with Zidane at Real means any efforts to convince Hazard to stay put at Stamford Bridge may prove futile.
Therefore, the ex-Dutch striker believes the club will have to make the tough call on Hazard’s future if he continues to refuse to sign a new deal.
“I think the ball is entirely in Hazard’s court whether he will still be a Chelsea player next season,” Hasselbaink told bwin.
“Chelsea have done everything they can to show that they love him and want him to stay, but he has one year left on his contract and he is in a controlling position to negotiate.
“I know that Hazard and his family are happy in London, but the lure of playing for Real Madrid may prove too strong.
“Chelsea cannot afford to allow Hazard to leave the club for free so he will either sign a new contract or be sold this summer.
“Hazard is a £100million asset, a £150million asset if he had another year on his contract, and Chelsea have a responsibility to not ignore that type of money.
“Hazard has been a great servant to Chelsea and the club will decide to honour his wishes by allowing him to leave if he doesn’t sign a new contract.”
He added: “I think playing for Zidane at Real Madrid is potentially the dream scenario for Eden Hazard and I’m not sure what more Chelsea can do to convince him otherwise.
“Hazard has never won the Champions League and he might feel he has a better chance of winning that trophy at Real Madrid than at Chelsea.
“The club would probably need to promise huge investment in the squad, but they might be powerless to do so as a result of the transfer ban.”