Eden Hazard may end up leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid as “every player would love to play for them”, but Michael Essien is hoping the Belgian can be persuaded to stay put.
Speculation regarding a switch to Spain continues to rage around a Stamford Bridge asset yet to commit to a new contract.
He has made no secret of his admiration for the Blancos and certainly fits the ‘Galactico’ mould favoured by Florentino Perez at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Essien, who represented Chelsea and Madrid during his playing days, admits the lure of one of world football’s most prestigious clubs may prove too much for a current Premier League star.
He told Express Sport: “Hazard is one of the best players in the world.
“The interest of Real Madrid, I only hear from people in the media. But I mean when Real Madrid come calling… every player would love to play for them.
“He’s happy at Chelsea though and hopefully we can keep him.”
Hazard is not the only player in west London to be generating exit talk ahead of another transfer window.
The likes of Danny Drinkwater, Victor Moses and Andreas Christensen are also making plenty of gossip columns.
The latter is being linked with a possible move to Barcelona, with Essien conceding that those not seeing regular game time for Chelsea will be weighing up their options.
He added: “Every player wants to play.
“Chelsea isn’t an easy place to come and the competition is very fierce.
“At the end of the day, all the players work but it’s the manager who will pick who he wants to play.
“When you’re not playing you get frustrated and you want to look elsewhere.
“It’s up to them really but they have to keep working and then everyone gets their chance.”
Chelsea have two more fixtures to take in before the winter window opens.
They are set to face Watford on Boxing Day, before making another short trip out on the road to take in a derby date with Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Maurizio Sarri is looking for his side to offer a positive response in those games to recent setbacks which have left the Blues fourth in the Premier League table and looking over their shoulder.