Eden Hazard may not have the mental capacity to compete with the big egos at Real Madrid, according to former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack.
Real have revisited their interest in Hazard, despite the fact Chelsea are confident they can hang on to the Belgian and are willing to hand him a new contract.
Ballack turned down Real in favour of joining Bayern Munich in 2002 and doubts whether Hazard has the right attitude to cope with life at the Bernabeu.
“Eden had not a good season last year and sometimes you don’t really know what happens to players, but it seems to me that he’s a bit of an emotional player who needs support and needs to feel really comfortable with the coach and the team and in his private life as well, so that he can perform,” said Ballack.
“I’m pretty sure if he moved to Real Madrid, he would have to fight for that standing again and it would take time because he’s a bit of an introvert. He’s not a player who talks a lot and Real Madrid, if you see the players they have, it would be a different situation for him.
“At Chelsea he knows what he has, he’s the top player at the club, he lives in a fantastic city. To give that up, he has to decide if he wants that. I think he’s the key player at Chelsea for the next one or two years. He has to decide if he wants to give that up for Real Madrid or if he wants to be successful with Chelsea and go into the Champions League, on another level, and help them back to where they were in Europe.
“It’s up to him. But he has this picture, he has this view. It’s difficult. They are talking about a lot of money. That’s surely also a reason for a player or a club. But if you speak about football facts, I think he’s in a position where he fights for a long time and he will not have the standing he has now at Chelsea at many clubs in Europe, so he has to fight for that and that takes a few years again.”
Other than questioning whether Hazard would fit in at Real, Ballack, speaking on behalf of BT Sport, believes Chelsea should hold on to striker Diego Costa - even though the club have targeted Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku.
“Costa is one of the key players,” said Ballack. “He is a bit of a diva, mainly in a positive way, but you need those kinds of players as leaders to change games. We have seen in tight games, he steps up and does something unpredictable.
“He’s not an easy player to handle, especially for the coach sometimes, but so far he is doing really well. It doesn’t matter where he plays, he will always be that kind of player. But Chelsea should not sell him because there are not many centre forwards who can hold the ball, turn, make runs, score. Lewandowski maybe, but not many. I don’t really see a replacement for him right now. Keep him.”
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