Lille defender Aurélien Chedjou has reinforced the belief that Eden Hazard is one of the best players in France and is expecting to wave goodbye to the in-demand star at the end of the season.
Hazard is one of French football’s hottest prospects after being voted Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010 and clinching the Ligue 1 Player of the Year accolade in 2011.
The 21-year-old’s rapid development at Lille has resulted in interest from several English clubs, including Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, while Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson have both been spotted on recent scouting visits to France.
And Hazard's team-mate Chedjou has admitted that he is braced for the Belgium international's exit, and believes the youngster must do so in order to become one of the best players in Europe.
Speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo.com, the Cameroon international said: “We know we are going to lose him - it is not an 'if'.
"For me, it is sure that he will leave next season, because he is a really talented player and he has already shown a lot in France. He has been the best player of the championship twice.
"When you have the whole of Europe after you, for his evolution and for his progression, he has to go. Lille have understood that it is time for him to go, to cash in on some money.
"For me he is one of the best players in France. He’s 21 and he has done a lot.
"We had games that we couldn’t handle so we gave him the ball and he did what he wanted. In the Champions League, it was his first [experience of the competition], he didn’t give a good performance but it doesn’t take anything away from his talent.
"For me, he is one of the best players I have played with in my career."
Chedjou admitted that losing Hazard will be a blow for the reigning Ligue 1 champions, but he insisted that the club will adapt and continue to challenge for the top honours in France.
"I don’t think Hazard is all Lille. Yes, he is talented but there are other players," he said.
"There were games that he missed but that other players made us win. It’s true he will be a big loss for us but it’s good for him. He will go progress somewhere else.
"There was a team before Hazard and there will be a team after him. It’s true that we will lose in vivacity and in game quality but we will be able to adapt and carry on the Lille adventure."
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