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Eden Hazard opens up on how Chelsea pipped Manchester United to his services despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s France trips

Former Chelsea star Eden Hazard has revealed that Manchester United were one of the clubs he was considering joining after deciding to leave Lille in 2012.

The Red Devils manager at the time Sir Alex Ferguson took regular trips to France to watch the Belgian in action and also spoke with him.

However, Hazard ended up joining Chelsea ahead of Man United, and he revealed in the latest episode of The Obi One Podcast that securing Champions League football after winning the elite European competition that season was the major reason he opted to join the Blues.

Man United lost the Premier League title to Manchester City on goal difference at the end of 2011-12, while Chelsea finished sixth in the table but secured an automatic ticket for the group stages of the Champions League for 2012-13 after beating Bayern Munich in the final.

“I think the last year with Lille in France, I had all the managers trying to call me or my agent,” Hazard revealed.

“I had a chat with Sir Alex Ferguson. I spoke with Harry Redknapp, at that time he was the manager in Tottenham. I went to Manchester to see the Man City training ground, and I spoke with Mancini.

“I had like a few options but not Chelsea, because in my last year in Lille, Chelsea in the league were not that good. When they won the Champions League, in the Premier League, they were like 6th or 7th, I don’t remember.

“I knew I was leaving France for the Premier League, but not Chelsea because I wanted to play in the Champions League, and that move came because you won the Champions League, and then I felt maybe I would go to Chelsea because they would play in the Champions League next season. I went to southern France for holiday and that’s where I saw (Roman) Abrahamovic, and I was like ‘let’s go, that’s my club’.

“Chelsea was like far away, that’s why I say thank you to Drogba. That’s the reality. I was not thinking of going to Chelsea. I wanted to play in the Champions League, and Chelsea were not an option until the day they won the Champions League.”

Hazard ended up spending seven seasons in the Premier League with the Blues, winning two titles, one FA Cup, one Carabao Cup and two UEFA Europa League trophies.

The former attacker was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year four times, won the PFA Young Player of the Year, PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season once.

He was regarded as the best player in the English top-flight at the time, making the FIFA FIFPRO Men’s World XI twice, and he would have helped change the fortunes of Man United had he joined them instead of Chelsea.

Hazard scored 85 goals and 61 assists in 245 league appearances for the Blues, and Ferguson would have been gutted to have missed out on him.

Man United are yet to win the Premier League since the legendary manager retired in 2013, but that might not have been the case if a player like the former Belgium international was within their ranks.