Eden Hazard hopes Chelsea fans understand why he is making his “dream” move to Real Madrid that could net the Blues an English record fee.
Hazard has signed a five-year contract to join Real in a deal that could rise as high as £150million once all bonus payments come into play.
The flat fee will hit £100million, with Chelsea happy to allow Hazard his big switch for that price given he had just one year left on his Stamford Bridge deal.
The 28-year-old Belgium captain grew up with posters of Real boss Zinedine Zidane on his bedroom wall, and insisted he would only have left Chelsea for Madrid.
“It’s no secret that it was my dream to play for them since I was a young boy just scoring my first goal,” said Hazard in a Facebook post.
“Now the clubs have reached an agreement I hope you understand I had to pursue my next chapter, just as each and every one of you should when you have the chance to pursue your dreams.
“Leaving Chelsea is the biggest and toughest decision in my career to date.
“I have loved every moment at Chelsea and not once did I ever consider, nor would I have left for, any other club.”
Hazard, who arrived at Stamford Bridge from Lille in 2012, leaves Chelsea having bagged six major trophies in seven years, with 110 goals in 352 appearances.
Hazard will double his wages to £400,000 in his five-year deal at Madrid, becoming the club’s second major signing of the summer after Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic.
“Although it is with sadness we say goodbye to Eden and we made it absolutely clear to him the club wished him to stay, we respect the decision he has made to take on a new challenge in a different country and follow his childhood dream of playing for Real Madrid,” said Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.
“The memories he leaves us with will not fade. He provided all who watched Chelsea play with great entertainment and many match-winning contributions, and for that we thank Eden enormously.
“He has been a model professional throughout his time at the club, a wonderful individual to have around and a joy to work with.
“We look forward to welcoming him back to Stamford Bridge in the future.”
Real said Hazard would be presented at the Bernabeu on Thursday after undergoing a medical in Madrid.