‘Thank you Didier’: Hazard reveals he nearly signed for a different Premier League club if not for Drogba

Photo: Getty Images

Eden Hazard has admitted he wouldn’t have signed for Chelsea if they hadn’t won the UEFA Champions League.

The Belgian joined the Blues from French side, Lille for £32m back in 2012, shortly after Chelsea lifted the Champions League trophy in Munich— and went on to become one of the club’s greatest players ever.

However, things could have happened differently for the now retired winger, who has told the Obi One podcast that he actually spoke to former Manchester United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, and then Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp about a potential move to either club before he ended up at Stamford Bridge.

The 33-year-old said: “I had a chat with Sir Alex Ferguson [then Manchester United boss].

“I spoke with Harry Redknapp, at that time he was the manager in Tottenham. I went to Manchester to see the Man City training ground.

“So I had a few options, but not Chelsea because the last year in Lille, Chelsea in the league was not that good. You know when you [John Obi Mikel] won the Champions League, in the league you were like sixth or seventh, I don’t remember.

“I knew I was leaving France to go to the Premier League but not Chelsea, because I wanted to play in the Champions League, you know?

“So that move came because you won the Champions League.”

Asked if he would not have signed for Chelsea if they didn’t win the Champions League, Hazard replied former teammate, John Mikel Obi: “Ah my friend, Chelsea was like far away. That’s why I say thank you to [Didier] Drogba!”

Chelsea finished sixth in the league in the 2011-12 season, but surprisingly, they proved a much-better team in Europe, winning their first Champions League title in the process.

Meanwhile, Eden Hazard played 352 games across seven seasons for Chelsea, scoring 110 goals and assisting a further 92 before he was allowed to join Real Madrid in 2019. He announced his retirement from football in 2023.