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Eden Hazard does not want to finish his career at Chelsea and will leave in the summer with Real Madrid eyeing a move, according to Paul Merson.
Belgian superstar Hazard has been a mainstay in Chelsea’s team over the past six years, making almost 300 appearances for the club since signing from Lille in 2012.
The 27-year-old has won two Premier League titles and a host of individual awards at Stamford Bridge, with his performances attracting interest from Real Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane is believed to be a huge admirer of Hazard and would be keen for Real to secure his signature this summer if a deal becomes available.
Hazard has previously reiterated his commitment to Chelsea, but Merson cannot see the Belgium star staying at Stamford Bridge beyond the summer.
‘I don’t think Eden Hazard will be there [next season],’ he told the Daily Star.
‘If Hazard doesn’t leave Chelsea this summer he’ll be there forever. And I don’t think he wants that.’ Former Arsenal and England player Merson also believes Ross Barkley could be a casualty of the summer transfer window following his struggles in west London.
Joining Chelsea from Everton at the start of January, injury-prone Barkley has made just three appearances under Antonio Conte.
‘He is running out of time to resurrect his career,’ Merson added.
‘His move to Chelsea has been a disaster and it needs to click for him quickly now or he’ll be forgotten.
‘I’m a big fan of his but it’s a strange one. He’s a No 10, and when I played, you didn’t start playing in that position until you were 27 or 28.
‘It’s the hardest position on the pitch. I know because I’ve done it. You’ve got to make things happen and you’re always under the microscope. It’s a pressure position.
‘But he’s not playing there for Chelsea and you have to wonder if he ever will.
‘He’s been stuck out wide there and he needs a free role in my opinion. If a new manager comes in with a different system he might get a chance next season.’