Eden Hazard, not Chelsea, will decide if he will move to Real Madrid this summer, according to former Real president Ramon Calderon.
Chelsea insist Hazard is happy at Stamford Bridge and is settled in London with his young family. He is under contract until June 2020.
But Real’s perennial interest has resurfaced, with speculation again linking Hazard with a switch to the Bernabeu.
And Calderon reckons a player has the power to force through a move if that is his wish and Real would be prepared to pay a world record fee in the region of £100million.
Calderon told TalkSPORT’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show: “Chelsea aren’t a selling club, so it wouldn’t be easy, but as always it would depend on the wishes of the player. If he wants to leave, he will leave – that’s always the point.
“It’s all about the player. The player must say, ‘I want to leave and go to Real Madrid’, and that will be the moment they start negotiating.”
The Belgium playmaker has been rejuvenated under head coach Antonio Conte as the Blues have taken a 10-point lead with 10 Premier League games to go.
Conte has repeatedly said contracts and the future of his players will be discussed at the end of the season.
Hazard, who joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012, idolised Zinedine Zidane, now the Real head coach, when he was growing up.
He was linked with Real after Chelsea’s 2014-15 title success, but his poor performances last term and Real’s transfer embargo meant speculation subsided – until now.
Calderon added: “Chelsea will ask for a lot of money, I think that’s what the situation will be at the end of the season.
“Chelsea knows quite well how much has been paid in the market over the last few years, with (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Gareth) Bale and (Paul) Pogba – £100million is now the bar.
“That bar has been set by those transfers, so I think that’s how much a club like Chelsea would be asking for and the economy at Real Madrid is healthy – I don’t think that wouldn’t be a problem for them.”
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has also been linked with a switch to Real, while forward James Rodriguez and striker Alvaro Morata, who had a spell at Conte’s former club Juventus, have been the subject of speculation over moves to Chelsea.