How could a Real Madrid transfer for Eden Hazard affect Gareth Bale?

Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane could spark a sensational summer swap involving Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale after lavishing praise on the Chelsea star.

The French World Cup winner and Madrid coach revealed he has been 'keeping an eye' on the 24-year-old Belgian magician and says he enjoys 'everything he does on the pitch'.

But there may be more to the comments than just respectful praise. Just last month the former Juventus great was linked with the Madrid hotseat as a replacement for Carlo Ancelotti, who looks to be on his way out of Los Blancos this summer. And Zizou even admitted in an interview with Canal+ that he would say 'yes' were he to be offered world football's top job, as reported by The Daily Express.

Hazard is on course to be the Premier League's player of the season after 18 goals in a superb campaign for the champions elect. But even though he recently signed a new deal with the Blues, the former Lille hero could be lured to join what is arguably the world's biggest club by the man he has claimed was 'his hero'.

Speaking to fifa.com, World Cup winner Zidane said: "There are players I keep an eye on and who I like a lot, like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, of course.

"They are fantastic players, but I like Eden Hazard a lot too. 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."

But should Madrid be able to lure Hazard to the Spanish capitol, where does that leave their own world record signing, Gareth Bale? Although bitter rivals Barcelona have found a way to incorporate Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar in the same team, many would argue Hazard and Bale could not operate around Cristiano Ronaldo in the same way.

It was telling that there was no room for the Welshman in Zidane's top three players despite being Los Blancos' most expensive ever player. Bale, who has been continuously linked with a return to the Premier League, has found things tough this season and was booed by Madrid fans earlier in the campaign after struggling for consistent form.

There is also the aspect of Financial Fair Play which could open the door for a potential swap deal should Madrid come in for Hazard in the summer.

The former Tottenham Hotspur star was recently linked with a £75 million return to England by The Independent. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has conceded that every player has his price and Zidane's comments could be the first shot across the bows ahead of a summer mega-deal.

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