Eden Hazard started on the bench against Leicester yesterday, and sure enough the real action came after the game.
Journalists in the mixed zone hurried to their Twitter apps to announce “quotes from the Belgian coming at 10.30!”, but when the fateful hour came, the results were a little disappointing. Simon Johnson’s piece in the Evening Standard has the star’s exact words, however if you were hoping for him to put you out of your misery with a straight answer, you’re sadly out of luck.
He has been dancing around the issue for two years now, leaving journalists and scoop-seekers grasping thin air just like he leaves defender’s flailing on the pitch.
Yesterday’s quotes were a perfect example. He said “I have made my decision”, without saying what that decision was. Of course we all know what he wants – to leave for Real Madrid – but by never uttering the words himself, he keeps himself on good terms with Chelsea and their fans, and means he always has an escape route should a move fall through.
“I have made my decision” is infinitely more palatable for fans than “I want to leave”, and it’s much harder to throw back in your face in the future – even if, in the end, they mean the same thing in these circumstances.
— 🌬 (@branojr) May 12, 2019
Last summer, he was able to cross back over bridges he could have burned, and this summer, should things really fall apart, Chelsea fans will happily take him back for another year. That’s not something you can say for many star players who push for a move to a bigger team. Like Thibaut Courtois last summer, they generally end up being reviled, even when they leave in less acrimonious circumstances than the goalkeeper did.
The coy and clever Hazard has let everyone know he wants to leave without actually saying the words, an impressive and fitting bit of orchestration from a man who picked up a playmaking award from the Premier League after full time