Zidane keeping tabs on Chelsea title inspiration

 
Frank Dalleres
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REAL Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has cited Eden Hazard as one of his favourite players, fuelling speculation that the Spanish club could target the Chelsea and Belgium star.

Hazard has been the driving force behind the Blues’ march towards a first Premier League title since 2010, earning nominations for both Player of the Year and Young Player awards from footballers’ union the PFA.

Chelsea are in a strong position to fend off suitors, having tied the 24-year-old to a new contract until 2020 that is believed to be worth £200,000 per week earlier this year.

Yet the Spanish giants have repeatedly proved willing to shell out world record fees, such as the £85m paid to Tottenham for Gareth Bale in 2013, to persuade reluctant sellers to part with their superstars.

“There are players I keep an eye on and who I like a lot, like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, of course. They’re fantastic players, but I like Eden Hazard a lot too,” said Zidane, who coaches Real’s second string, Castilla. “I enjoy everything he does on the pitch. I like the way he carries himself, that decisive streak in him, and the fact that he’s improving every year. He can still get better too, and I think he’s a big reason why Chelsea are on top of the table.”

Hazard, who joined Chelsea from Lille for £32m in 2012, has scored 18 goals and assisted 14 more in 46 appearances this season.

BIG SPENDERS

Real set last five transfer records
£37m: Luis Figo, Barcelona, 2000
£47m: Zinedine Zidane, Juventus, 2001
£56m: Kaka, AC Milan, 2009
£80m: Cristiano Ronaldo, Man Utd, 2009
£85m: Gareth Bale, Tottenham, 2013