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John Terry's send-off shows why Eden Hazard should reject Real Madrid and become the new Chelsea icon

Goal.com logo Goal.com 22-05-2017

Eden Hazard's love for Chelsea must have been reinforced by his involvement in the guard of honour for departing hero John Terry on a day of celebration.

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Terry was substituted in the 26th minute of Sunday's game against Sunderland as the players, fans and manager all pulled together to give their captain, leader and legend the best send-off possible on his final Chelsea appearance at Stamford Bridge.

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After 717 games, 67 goals, 15 major honours and five league titles, Terry will leave the club as their greatest-ever captain and Hazard got a close look at the respect that a club legend gets in west London.

As Terry closes the door on an era of dominant success, the stage is clear for Hazard to become the next legend. He is Chelsea's galactico and, although he may never win as much as Terry, his playing style can help him become a new icon at the club.

Fans organised a huge display to demonstrate their adoration of Terry as the defender's farewell overshadowed a 5-1 win over Sunderland on the final day of the season.

Hazard himself was among the names who paid tribute to Terry on Sunday.

"He’s been a fantastic leader and captain," said the Belgian. "He’s given a lot to the young players and it was a huge honour to play with him for five years."

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With the season now drawing to a close, there will inevitably be a summer of transfer speculation, with Real Madrid having consistently been linked with a move for Hazard.

Madrid won La Liga on Sunday, with a Champions League final to come, but Chelsea are the best team in England and have ambitions to compete for glory in Europe as early as next season. If Hazard pushed for a move to Madrid, he may end up just blending in at the Santiago Bernabéu where Cristiano Ronaldo hogs the spotlight.

In reality, Chelsea are miles ahead of the chasing pack in a competitive Premier League. Antonio Conte's side won the title with two games to spare and a seven-point gap to second-placed Tottenham, while they also set a Premier League record of 30 wins in a season.

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The likelihood of a summer deal appears remote as Hazard believes that he can become Chelsea's first Ballon d'Or winner, which would mean a season of major success for his club and country.

N'Golo Kante may have won a clean sweep of individual awards for the season but Hazard is the man who attracts new fans to Chelsea as his club's most marketable player.

But, while Hazard looks a long way from forcing an exit from Stamford Bridge, Diego Costa appears increasingly likely to depart for China in the summer.

Conte combined Costa and Hazard to perfection, but off the pitch the duo are motivated by very different things.

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Costa has never really adapted to life in England in contrast to Hazard, who looks set to sign a new contract, due in no small part to being extremely settled with life in England's capital.

Despite the likelihood of Costa moving on, Chelsea are in great health and players from across Europe will be desperate to join a club going places in the summer. Chelsea's best players will have renewed motivation to stay as Roman Abramovich remains an engaged investor in football.

Conte hasn't won the Champions League as a manager and Hazard arrived at Chelsea a few weeks after the club had won the trophy in 2012. Their partnership can be a winning one as Chelsea look to a new era with Terry's exit signalling the end of an old way of doing things.

If Hazard shows his commitment to Chelsea, he can become the new beacon of glory at England's most ambitious club.

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