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‘It’s thanks to Zidane I started playing football’

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Eden Hazard has this afternoon lavished praise on Zinedine Zidane, amid mounting links between the Chelsea standout and Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Real’s Hazard pursuit

The links between Blues’ star man Hazard and Real have been circulating for several years now.

Los Blancos are known to be keen admirers of Hazard’s talents, with the 28-year-old’s development into one of the finest attackers in England having seen Chelsea reportedly forced to knock back a number of bids from the soon-to-be former European champions last summer.

Real, for their part, though, have seemingly not been deterred by Chelsea’s stubbornness.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure for Juventus last summer, coupled with the capital outfit’s dismal campaign to this point, have seen reports mount throughout the season that another big-money bid for Hazard will be forthcoming on the part of Real at the end of the season.

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Eden Hazard during the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Chelsea FC. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

‘My idol’

And, on the back of Zinedine Zidane’s return to the hotseat at the Bernabeu last week, rumours surrounding the interest of Los Merengues in Hazard’s services have since moved up a further notch.

In fact, AS reported earlier this week that Hazard has definitively set his sights on joining Real in the summer.

And the Belgian international did little to deter such claims during an interview with Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF) this afternoon.

After being questioned on who he would prefer as a manager, Zidane or Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, Hazard took the opportunity to absolutely wax lyrical about the former:

‘As a player there’s no comparison. I have so much respect for Zidane. He’s my idol. It’s thanks to him I started playing.’

However, somewhat surprisingly, in the end, the Chelsea attacker opted for Martinez:

‘But for the victories we’ve achieved with Martinez I’d go with Martinez.’

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