Belgium international Eden Hazard kissed the Real Madrid badge as he was unveiled in front of 50,000 loyal Madridristas at the Bernabeu.
After undergoing a medical earlier on Thursday, the Belgian superstar shared a stage with club president Florentino Perez and he delivered a speech in French – although he did speak a few words in Spanish.
Hazard, 28, who joined for a fee of £150million was one of Zinedine Zidane’s main summer transfer targets. The Belgian superstar posed holding the kit as photographers tried to grab the perfect image of one of the world’s best players as he kissed the badge – leaving Chelsea fans heartbroken.
And during his presentation, Hazard admitted it was a club he always harboured ambitions of playing for. He said: “I look forward to putting on the shirt and defending this club. Since I was a child, it was my dream to play for this club.”
Perez, meanwhile, hailed the playmaker for choosing Real after quitting Chelsea. He said: “Eden, you are where you wanted to be. This was your dream, your dream has come true and you are here to defend the shirt. You will experience great passion from the city. The most important thing you will realise here are the fans. We’d like to thank you for deciding to join this club. The fans you see behind you will be here at every game. They know you are unique, your brand of football is special. Welcome to your new home!”
Hazard later added: “A kid playing football in the garden with my brothers was when i began to be a Real Madrid fan. Then I went to France, then to England, but being a Real Madrid player, wearing this shirt, is an honour, I can’t wait for the season to start. I believe everyone knows that Zidane was my idol since I was a kid. That he is now Real Madrid coach was an important factor, but not just that. I already wanted to play here. The position is not a question for me, the coach will decide. But I always like to play on the left, or as a number 10. But if I have to play another position I will do it for sure. I don’t think it is too late, I am 28 years old, the top moment for a player. I have had various stages in my career, Lille, Chelsea, now I felt the time was right to join the best club in the world.”
Hazard also revealed that the deal had been in the works since last summer. “It is true that everything began last year, after the World Cup. But I stayed one more year at Chelsea. I think things went very well personally, and also with the team, winning the Europa League. This is the perfect time to join Real Madrid. I have been able to talk to [Luka] Modric through [Mateo] Kovacic. I was joking when I asked him to lend me the No 10. He said no, so I’ll have to find another number. But right now number not important for me, just to play with this badge. It is true that I have always dreamed of Real Madrid. I’m not just saying this today as I’m here now. It was really the case since I was a kid. I never doubted I would finally play here.”
The 50,000 fans inside the Bernabeu had been queuing for more than hour before being let in and had to wait as the start time delayed. In fact, the attendance was so high that it actually beat that of a recent game – only 46,000 fans were inside the stadium to watch a 3-2 win against Villarreal on May 5.
However, Cristiano Ronaldo truly stole the show at his unveiling, with 80,000 packing inside the stadium to see the world record arrival back in 2009.
Photo Credit: Getty