Eden Hazard is the latest in a string of top Premier League talents to agonise over staying put and dominating England’s top-flight, or realising Galactico status with Real Madrid.
Here, Press Association Sport examines some high-profile Madrid moves from Premier League stars.
Madrid’s peak Premier League poach, Ronaldo traded United for Galactico status in a world-record £80million deal in 2009. In nine years he racked up an all-time record 450 goals from 438 appearances, including 311 in La Liga. Those stunning statistics also comprised 44 hat-tricks in all competitions. By the time he left for Juventus this summer, Ronaldo had smashed almost every Madrid record going, barring Raul’s appearance tally of 741.
Wales forward Bale reached Galactico status with a world-record £85million transfer from Tottenham to Real in 2013. The 29-year-old has flourished in Madrid, despite having to fight for game time and space centrally while Ronaldo was king of the Real hill. Bale conjured a stunning overhead kick goal in Real’s 2018 3-1 Champions League final victory over Liverpool, again reaffirming his quality. The former Southampton youngster will now hope to exert his authority as Real’s main man in Ronaldo’s absence.
Chelsea battled long and hard in their attempts to retain Belgium stopper Courtois’ services, but eventually had to succumb to Madrid’s lure just like everyone else. The 26-year-old duly joined Real for a reported £35million in summer 2018. His family had remained in Madrid after a three-year spell at Atletico, and in the end he insisted he wanted to be closer to his wife and children. Chelsea responded by recruiting Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga in a world-record £71million fee for a goalkeeper.