Memphis Depay ‘will sign for Barcelona this summer… but only if Ronald Koeman remains in charge’

Memphis Depay ‘will sign for Barcelona this summer… but only if Ronald Koeman remains in charge, with Lyon star keen on a reunion with under-pressure former Dutch coach’

  • Memphis Depay is believed to have agreed terms to join Barcelona this summer
  • However the striker will only do so if Ronald Koeman remains in charge at club
  • The 27-year-old played under the Dutchman for the national side for two years
  • Depay would arrive on a free transfer as Barcelona focus on cheap recruitment

Memphis Depay has reportedly agreed a deal to join Barcelona this summer, but only if Ronald Koeman remains as manager at the Nou Camp.

The Lyon forward was heavily linked with a move to Spain at the start of this season, as he entered the final year of his contract.

However, while he stayed in France for the current campaign, he has not signed a new deal at Lyon and will leave the club at the end of the season as a free agent.

Memphis Depay has reportedly agreed terms to join Barcelona on a free transfer this summer

However, it is believed he will only join the Spanish giants if Ronald Koeman remains in charge

However, it is believed he will only join the Spanish giants if Ronald Koeman remains in charge

According to Marca, Depay has reached an agreement to sign for Barcelona, but he will only do so on the condition that the club do not replace Koeman as boss.

The Dutch manager was in charge of the national side between 2018 and 2020 and a key reason for Depay wanting to join Barcelona is to reunite with Koeman.

While they suffered a dreadful start to the season, the Spanish giants’ form has improved in recent months to ease pressure on the man who took over at the start of the season.

However, a 0-0 draw with league leaders Atletico Madrid and then a 3-3 draw with Levante on Tuesday night have effectively ended Barcelona’s hopes of La Liga glory this season with two games remaining.

That along with a disappointing round of 16 exit in the Champions League to PSG means that club president Joan Laporta is believed to be considering Koeman’s future at the club.

Depay played under Koeman for two years while the Dutchman managed the national side

Depay played under Koeman for two years while the Dutchman managed the national side

The Dutchman has a contract through until the end of next season, but it remains to be seen whether he will get the chance to see the second year of his deal.

What happens with Koeman’s future will have a significant impact on Depay’s, who has enjoyed a superb season for Lyon.

The 27-year-old has scored 19 league goals and provided 10 assists, helping Lyon to currently sit fourth in Ligue 1, six points off Lille at the top and just three points behind PSG in second. 

Barcelona’s difficult financial situations means that the opportunity to sign Depay on a free transfer is an appealing one.

The expected arrival of Manchester City’s Eric Garcia also on a free this summer, as well as a rumoured move for his out-of-contract teammate Sergio Aguero, shows the club’s need to recruit as smartly, and as cheaply, as possible. 

Sergio Aguero could join his Argentine team-mate Lionel Messi at Barcelona on a free transfer

Sergio Aguero could join his Argentine team-mate Lionel Messi at Barcelona on a free transfer

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Ana de Armas enjoys an alfresco breakfast with a mystery man in Mallorca

Ana de Armas wears cropped denim shorts as she enjoys an alfresco breakfast with a mystery man in Mallorca… amid ex Ben Affleck’s reunion with Jennifer Lopez

Ana de Armas was in good company on Thursday as she enjoyed breakfast with a mystery man, days after ex Ben Affleck appeared to rekindle his relationship with Jennifer Lopez.

The Cuban star caught the eye in a hot pink top and cropped denim shorts during an alfresco appearance at a local café in picturesque Palma De Mallorca, Spain.

Accompanied by handsome male friend, Ana – who celebrated her 33rd birthday in April – appeared to be in high spirits as they made their way to an outdoor table. 

Here they come: Ana de Armas was in good company on Thursday as she enjoyed breakfast with a mystery man, days after ex Ben Affleck appeared to rekindle his relationship with Jennifer Lopez

It was their second consecutive appearance together after dining together in the same spot the previous day.  

The actress was taking a break as she prepares to shoot forthcoming action-thriller The Gray Man with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans on the Spanish island.

Her latest outing comes following her split from Ben Affleck, 48, in January after almost a year of dating.

The pair first met on the set of their soon-to-be released erotic thriller Deep Water, which began filming in New Orleans in November 2019.

Looking good: The Cuban star caught the eye in a hot pink top and cropped denim shorts during an alfresco appearance at a local café in picturesque Palma De Mallorca, Spain

Looking good: The Cuban star caught the eye in a hot pink top and cropped denim shorts during an alfresco appearance at a local café in picturesque Palma De Mallorca, Spain 

They seemed to be inseparable as they spent much of the pandemic together last year, taking daily walks with Ana’s dog and grabbing coffee.

‘The quarantine was unique because they had downtime and ­really got to know each other spending time at home,’ a source told Page Six at the time.

Now, Affleck is sparking romance rumors with his ex-fiancé, who he whisked away on a private jet this past weekend for a romantic getaway trip to a luxury ski resort in Montana, where the actor is understood to own a chalet.

This looks familiar: It was their second consecutive appearance together after dining together in the same spot the previous day

This looks familiar: It was their second consecutive appearance together after dining together in the same spot the previous day

Old times: Her latest outing comes following her split from Ben Affleck in January after almost a year of dating

Old times: Her latest outing comes following her split from Ben Affleck in January after almost a year of dating 

The former celebrity couple – who were engaged in 2002 but postponed their 2003 wedding and officially split in 2004 – have been seen reuniting with one another following JLo’s split with ex-fiancé Alex Rodriguez, and the revelation that Ben has been an active user on the celebrity dating app Raya.

Talking about their getaway, a source told PEOPLE on Monday: ‘[Jennifer] spent several days with Ben out of town. They have a strong connection. 

‘It’s all been quick and intense, but Jennifer is happy.’

Back together? It was reported on Monday that Affleck enjoyed a weeklong getaway with ex Jennifer Lopez in Montana (pictured in 2002)

Back together? It was reported on Monday that Affleck enjoyed a weeklong getaway with ex Jennifer Lopez in Montana (pictured in 2002)

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Real Madrid: Marcelo ‘involved in bust-up with boss Zinedine Zidane’

Marcelo AXED from Real Madrid squad to face Granada tonight ‘after bust-up with boss Zinedine Zidane’ as Brazilian full-back ‘has grown tired of manager’s tactics and line-up decisions’

  • Real Madrid take on Granada on Thursday night but will be without Marcelo
  • The Brazilian full-back has not been selected by Zinedine Zidane for the match
  • Reports in Spain detail ‘an argument’ between the two over playing time
  • Marcelo is also believed to be ‘frustrated’ over Zidane’s tactics and selections 

Marcelo has been axed from Real Madrid’s squad following an argument with boss Zinedine Zidane over his tactics and team selections, according to a report in Spain. 

The Brazilian has found his minutes this season with Ferland Mendy often the preferred left back option.

According to Goal, Marcelo has become ‘increasingly frustrated’ at Zidane and that frustration boiled over on the eve of Real Madrid’s LaLiga match with Granada on Thursday. 

Marcelo will play no part for Real Madrid against Granada after being dropped from the squad

Zinedine Zidane is reported to have clashed with the Brazilian during training on Tuesday

Zinedine Zidane is reported to have clashed with the Brazilian during training on Tuesday

With Mendy out for the remainder of the season with a shin injury, Marcelo assumed he would play out the campaign at left back. 

But Goal’s report details a bust-up with Zidane during Tuesday’s training session and the Frenchman elected to leave Marcelo out entirely for the squad to face Granada as a result. 

In the absence of Mendy and Marcelo, academy star Miguel Gutierrez is expected to be handed the starting role at left back.

Marcelo, who is 15th on the list of minutes played at Real Madrid this season, is believed to not be alone in his frustrations at Zidane.

The Brazilian has been at Real Madrid since 2007 and has been a mainstay down the left side, making more than 370 appearances.

He is a five-time LaLiga winner and four-time Champions League winner and it is a huge call from Zidane on the eve of a must-win game as part of the title race.

Tensions behind the scenes are said to extend beyond Marcelo, however. 

The 33-year-old full-back is reported to be one of a number of squad veterans who are ‘frustrated’ at Zidane’s methods throughout this LaLiga title defence. 

Last week Goal reported that there is ‘a consensus’ in the dressing room that a ‘tired’ Zidane will leave at the end of the season.

Zidane’s side still have an outside shot at the title but must defeat Granada at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes to keep leaders Atletico Madrid honest with two games remaining. 

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Arsenal’s Smith Rowe reveals his winner at Chelsea was the result of hard work on the training pitch

Emile Smith Rowe reveals his winner was the result of hard work on the training pitch after Arsenal pounced on mistake by Jorginho to secure victory at Stamford Bridge

  • Jorginho’s misplaced back-pass left Arrizabalaga scrambling across goal 
  • Aubameyang collected loose ball and teed up Smith Rowe to slot home
  • The victory meant the Gunners completed the double over the Blues 

Emile Smith Rowe revealed his goal had been the result of hard work on the training pitch after Arsenal beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Jorginho’s misplaced back-pass left the out-of-position Kepa Arrizabalaga scrambling across goal, with the Spain stopper forced to parry off the line.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang teed up Smith Rowe to slot home in the 16th minute and secure Arsenal’s third-straight Premier League victory.

Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe celebrates scoring the only goal of the game in the win at Chelsea

Afterwards Smith Rowe told Sky Sports: ‘Important result, we had to dig deep, it was a tough test but important for our season.

‘We worked on the pressing in training, high press and we did well to make them make the mistake and Auba [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang] set me up which was good.’

Asked if his goal was lucky, he added: ‘That happens sometimes, I’m happy it went in but it was a slightly lucky finish. It means so much to score for this fantastic club, I just want to keep pushing on.

Smith Rowe scored from a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (not pictured) cutback in the first half

Smith Rowe scored from a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (not pictured) cutback in the first half

‘I’m so tired but I feel like we played well, we looked tired at times but we got the three points and showed our character, we defended really well in patches and after this tough season it was a good performance from us today.

‘We’re working really hard in training and showed this season how good we can be, but we need to keep pushing forward.’

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Aymeric Laporte SLAMMED by French media and legends after Spain switch

The French press has slammed Aymeric Laporte’s decision to switch allegiances to Spain, labelling the player as ‘opportunistic’ and having ‘succumbed to the Iberian sirens’.

The Spanish Government released official documentation confirming that the Manchester City defender has been granted citizenship, clearing the path for him to receive a shock call-up to the country’s European Championship squad this summer. 

Spanish outlet MARCA revealed on Tuesday that the 26-year-old will be drafted into Luis Enrique’s squad ahead of the tournament following a personal request from the boss himself.

Laporte made 51 appearances for France at youth level

The French press has slammed Aymeric Laporte’s decision to switch allegiances to Spain 

French outlet L'Equipe criticised Laporte as having 'succumbed to the Iberian sirens'

French outlet L’Equipe criticised Laporte as having ‘succumbed to the Iberian sirens’

The 26-year-old was born in the French Basque Country but now a royal decree dated March 11 has been issued by a Spanish government agency confirming new citizenship for the centre-back, who is now available to play for La Roja.  

And that has seen criticism sent his way from media and former players in his country of birth, for whom he made a total of 51 appearances at youth level, atlhough he never made his debut for the senior side despite being called up to the squad on four occasions. 

L’Equipe wrote: ‘Laporte has succumbed to the Iberian sirens when he has never yet worn the shirt of the French ‘A’ team’. 

The same outlet also hinted at irony by mentioning statements he made in March in which he stated that wearing the France shirt ‘has always been his dream’ and that when he did it at youth level it had been ‘one of the best experiences’ of his life.

Laporte (left) made 51 appearances for France at youth level but never made a senior team appearance despite being called up four times

Laporte (left) made 51 appearances for France at youth level but never made a senior team appearance despite being called up four times

L’Equipe also highlighted an interview on Basque television with Laporte back in December 2018, when he said Deschamps was not calling him up ‘for personal reasons’, and added: ‘I have chosen France. I am French. I don’t have dual nationality. I am not going to ask for it.’

Former PSG and France winger Jerome Rothen also revealed on RMC that he was upset by Laporte’s decision, calling him ‘opportunistic’.

‘When you sign up and feel French, you go with France,’ Rothen said. ‘If you feel Spanish, you go with Spain. But don’t be opportunistic.’

Former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit also weighed in, stating: ‘So you can choose the country you want? Do you want to? He had claimed his love for the French team and suddenly went to Spain’.

But speaking in November last year, Laporte admitted he was hurt by France boss Deschamps’ snubs given his excellent record with France’s youth teams,  which L’Equipe also note.

Emmanuel Petit (left) and Jerome Rothen (right) both criticised Laporte's allegiance switch

Emmanuel Petit (left) and Jerome Rothen (right) both criticised Laporte’s allegiance switch

‘I still miss it a little more with the national squad,’ he said.

‘I’ve been going there for a long time now, it’s a big disappointment, especially after spending more than five years in the French youth team and having been captain for almost three years.

‘But life is like that, you have to accept and work hard and strive to get back to the level and be stronger than ever.’ 

The world champions last called Laporte up to the squad in August 2019. He withdrew two days later after suffering a lateral meniscus injury that ruled him out of much of last season.

But Les Bleus boss Deschamps hinted last year that the City star could continually be snubbed.

MARCA claim boss Luis Enrique (right) personally requested the Spanish FA to look into the possibility

MARCA claim boss Luis Enrique (right) personally requested the Spanish FA to look into the possibility

Asked why he had decided to call up Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma instead of Laporte for the international fixtures at the time, Deschamps said: ‘There’s competition everywhere.

‘Kurt has been with us for a while, he’s been called up many times but hasn’t played that much. If I pick him it’s because I think he’s better than the other people because of what he’s doing at Chelsea.

‘He had a few injuries in a row but now he’s been very fit for a while, he’s very calm, so he’s here.’

Laporte is now set to represent Spain though after MARCA claimed Enrique requested weeks ago that the Spanish FA explore the possibility of the centre-back being able to represent Spain in the tournament they won in 2008 and 2012.

The same report claims both the player and FIFA have given their approval for the centre-back to play for Spain this summer, though a final procedure with the latter is still awaiting completion.

Laporte would join Sergio Ramos (right) and Eric Garcia (second from right) as defensive options this summer

Laporte would join Sergio Ramos (right) and Eric Garcia (second from right) as defensive options this summer

Spain are said to have had Laporte on their radar ever since August 2016 when Julen Lopetegui had taken charge. 

Enrique is set to name a 26-man squad – following last month’s announced increase from 23 – for the Euros on May 21.  

And should Laporte be called up, it would see Spain’s central defensive options – which already include Man City team-mate Eric Garcia, Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Athletic Bilbao’s Inigo Martinez – significantly strengthened. 

Laporte has played 27 games in all competitions for Pep Guardiola’s team so far this season, and scored the winner in the League Cup final against Tottenham at Wembley.

However, while he has regained his spot in the Premier League side, Guardiola has preferred Ruben Dias and John Stones as the central pairing in the knockout stages of the Champions League.   

Laporte was called up by France in August 2019 but has been snubbed ever since

Laporte was called up by France in August 2019 but has been snubbed ever since

Thibaut Courtois’ dad blasts ‘unprofessional’ Eden Hazard for laughing with Chelsea team

Thibaut Courtois’ father blasts ‘unprofessional’ Eden Hazard for laughing and smiling with former Chelsea team-mates… and claims ‘those images are painful for Real Madrid fans’ just minutes after they were dumped out of the Champions League

  • Thibaut Courtios’ dad blasts Madrid’s Eden Hazard for being ‘unprofessional’ 
  • The former Chelsea star was all smiles after their Champions League exit 
  • Fans took to social media to vent their frustration with the £90million signing 

Thibaut Courtios’ father blasted Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard for being ‘unprofessional’ after he was pictured laughing and smiling after their Champions League semi-final exit against Chelsea.

Hazard – who returned to Stamford Bridge for the first time since his huge £90million transfer to Spain in 2019 – was seen smiling and laughing with his former colleagues Kurt Zouma and Edouard Mendy at full-time.

His reaction after the 2-0 loss – which saw Thomas Tuchel’s side book their place in the Istanbul final with a 3-1 aggregate victory – saw fans vent their frustration and also led to the Madrid keeper’s father brandishing him as ‘unprofessional’.

Thibaut Courtios’ father blasted Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard for being ‘unprofessional’

The Belgian was full of smiles following Real Madrid's Champions League semi-final exit

The Belgian was full of smiles following Real Madrid’s Champions League semi-final exit

Immediately after the final whistle Hazard was seen laughing with ex team-mate Kurt Zouma

Immediately after the final whistle Hazard was seen laughing with ex team-mate Kurt Zouma

‘Its really not smart for Eden to do that,’ Thierry Courtios told HLN Sportcast.

‘He probably didn’t think twice about it, but those images are painful for Real Madrid fans.

‘If you see a player laughing two minutes after being eliminated, I’d say it was unprofessional.’ 

The Madrid forward also shared an intimate moment with Azpilicueta, and appeared to wish him well for the final in Turkey against Premier League rivals Manchester City. 

One fan wrote: ‘Eden Hazard just got knocked out of the Champions League and this is his reaction after the game’. 

While another added: ‘Eden Hazard could genuinely not care less about Real Madrid.’ 

Spanish daily Marca quickly republished the images of Hazard at full-time online, along with the condemning headline: ‘The image of Hazard laughing after the elimination that outrages madridismo.’ 

Real Madrid fans were not only disappointed by his actions off the pitch, but his performance on the pitch as well.

Having been fit for just 755 minutes of Champions League football this season, fans were hoping the return of the talisman to the squad would be inspired and help their side reach yet another European final.  

However, he failed to make his mark on the game and was hooked late on by boss Zidane in what turned out to be a miserable night for the Spanish giants. 

Chelsea put in a solid performance in the second leg to quickly swat away any suggestion of a Madrid turnaround. 

Goals from Timo Werner and boyhood fan Mason Mount were enough to put the contest out of sight, after Christian Pulisic’s strike in the first leg gave the Blues a decisive away advantage – cancelling out Karim Benzema’s sublime effort.

Hazard issued an apology for laughing with his former Chelsea team-mates on Wednesday

Hazard issued an apology for laughing with his former Chelsea team-mates on Wednesday

He took to Instagram to say it was never his 'intention to offend the Real Madrid fans'

He took to Instagram to say it was never his ‘intention to offend the Real Madrid fans’

Hazard has since taken to Instagram to issue an apology, saying it wasn’t his ‘intention to offend Real Madrid fans’ and that it is a ‘dream’ to play for the club.    

Hazard took to his Instagram story to say: ‘I am sorry. I have read a lot of opinions about me today and it wasn’t my intention to offend Real Madrid fans.

‘It has always been my dream to play for Real Madrid and I came here to win.

‘The season is not over and together we must now battle for La Liga. Hala Madrid!’

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Arsenal fans flock to Emirates in their thousands as they welcome side for Europa League semi-final

Arsenal fans flock to Emirates in their thousands as they welcome Mikel Arteta’s side ahead of crucial Europa League semi-final clash with Villarreal… as fans continue protests against Gunners owner Stan Kroenke amid interest from Spotify’s Daniel Ek 

  • Arsenal take on Villarreal in a key Europa League semi-final clash for the Gunners
  • The Gunners trail 2-1 from the first-leg in Spain and must win tonight to progress
  • Mikel Arteta asked fans to provide a raucous team bus welcome earlier this week
  • Gunners fans have continued protesting against current owner Stan Kroenke
  • The protests against Kroenke come amid Daniel Ek’s interest in buying Arsenal

Arsenal fans produced flares and created a raucous atmosphere outside the Emirates Stadium to welcome their team coach ahead of their Europa League semi-final tie with Villarreal. 

Mikel Arteta’s side face Unai Emery’s Villarreal on Thursday night in a crucial last-four clash, trailing 2-1 from the opening leg in Spain last week, meaning they must win the tie to progress to this month’s final. 

However, the atmosphere also featured more protest banners against the ownership of Stan Kroenke as the fall-out from the now-botched European Super League project continues. 

Arsenal fans welcomed their team bus into the Emirates Stadium with flares on Thursday night

The Gunners face Villarreal in a vital Europa League semi-final clash, trailing 2-1 on aggregate

The Gunners face Villarreal in a vital Europa League semi-final clash, trailing 2-1 on aggregate

Kroenke, who has been involved in the running of the club since 2011, was one of the main orchestrators of the controversial breakaway league which saw all six of England’s biggest sides pull out of the group 48 hours after signing up. 

Arsenal fans protested in their thousands before the Gunners’ league game with Everton on April 23 and continued on Thursday amid Spotify owner Daniel Ek’s plan to bid for Kroenke Sports Entertainment’s Premier League side. 

Messages on some of Thursday’s banners included, ‘Kroenke You Mug, Get Out Of Our Club’, ‘We Want Our Arsenal Back’ and ‘We Need Someone Who Gives A S***’ 

Fans continued to hold up banners protesting against current Gunners owner Stan Kroenke

Fans continued to hold up banners protesting against current Gunners owner Stan Kroenke

The protests have intensified following the contentious Super League saga last month

The protests have intensified following the contentious Super League saga last month

The Gunners need to beat Villarreal on Thursday night to progress to the Europa League final

The Gunners need to beat Villarreal on Thursday night to progress to the Europa League final

Swedish businessman Ek has brought together Arsenal legends Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira to help him with his bid, with reports claiming the Kroenke are valuing the club at £1.8billion. 

The Kroenke issued a statement after the Everton protests that they are not entertaining the idea of selling Arsenal, though it has been revealed the Premier League club have effectively been up for sale for the past two years.  

Arsenal all-time record goalscorer Henry claims the Spotify founder, who claims to be an Arsenal supporter, wants to improve the fans’ involvement in the upper echelons of the club. 

Arsenal owner Kroenke (on banner) has been widely criticised by fans over the past decade

Arsenal owner Kroenke (on banner) has been widely criticised by fans over the past decade

Henry told Sky Sports this week: ‘He approached us, we listened to him. We knew first and foremost that he wanted to involve the fans. Bring them back on board and knowing what’s happening.

‘He wants to re-inject the Arsenal DNA, the identity that for me I think is long gone. You don’t have Arsenal people there amongst the board and sometimes that can make sure it’s going in the right direction.

‘He already reached out, already said himself that he has collected the funds to make sure he can put a good bid, now they need to listen.’

Spotify founder Daniel Ek has been vocal in his desire to take over Arsenal when possible

Spotify founder Daniel Ek has been vocal in his desire to take over Arsenal when possible

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta called on the fans to provide a raucous atmosphere on Thursday

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta called on the fans to provide a raucous atmosphere on Thursday

Meanwhile, the atmosphere before the Villarreal match was actually asked for by Arsenal head coach Arteta, who wanted to see fans show their support as the team bus arrived in north London. 

Speaking about a potential fan atmosphere on Wednesday, Arteta said: ‘I think that would be great. We’ve been missing them so much. We need them and for the players and the team to feel that they are right behind them supporting them.

‘I think it is the 10th time the club has played a European semi-final, so it’s a big moment for us. Hopefully we can have them closer than we have already in the last few months.’

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Fans fume at Eden Hazard’s reaction to being kicked out of the Champions League

‘He could genuinely not care less about Real Madrid’: Fans fume at Eden Hazard’s reaction to being kicked out of the Champions League as he laughs and jokes with Kurt Zouma

  • Real Madrid fans were furious at Eden Hazard’s reaction to Real Madrid’s loss
  • Hazard was seen joking and laughing with his former team-mates after the game
  • Real lost 2-0 to Chelsea – sending them through to the final 3-1 on aggregate 

Real Madrid fans were furious at Eden Hazard’s reaction to being kicked out of the Champions League on Wednesday night.

The Belgian – who returned to Stamford Bridge for the first time since his £88million transfer to Spain in 2019 – was seen joking and laughing with his former team-mates after the game.

Fans took to social media to express their frustration at his reaction after Real Madrid suffered a 2-0 loss to the Blues – seeing Thomas Tuchel’s side advance to the final 3-1 on aggregate.  

Real Madrid fans were furious at Eden Hazard’s reaction to Real Madrid’s loss on Wednesday

Real Madrid fans were not only disappointed by his actions off the pitch, but his performance on the pitch.  

Having been fit for just 755 minutes of Champions League football this season, fans were hoping his return would be inspired. 

However, he failed to make his mark on the game and was hook off in what turned out to be a miserable night for Real Madrid. 

Nevertheless, Hazard seemed in high spirits after the game and was filmed joking and hugging his former team-mate Kurt Zouma. 

The Real Madrid forward also shared an intimate moment with Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta.       

As a result fans took to social media to both criticise and mock Hazard – with many joking he was secretly playing for Chelsea the whole time. 

One fan wrote: ‘Eden Hazard just got knocked out of the Champions League and this is his reaction after the game’.

While another added: ‘Eden Hazard could genuinely not care less about Real Madrid.’

Other supporters shared the same opinion, writing: ‘Hazard played against Real Madrid and this is so big an evidence. How can you be laughing this hard when you just lost a #UCL Semi final?’

Another fan compared his reaction to that of Cristiano Ronaldo during his time at Real Madrid, saying: ‘Ronaldo’s reaction after CL s.f exit vs Hazard’s reaction after CL s.f exit Different priorities’.

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Michael Owen admits Karim Benzema rejecting Sir Alex Ferguson allowed Manchester United move

‘I only came to Manchester United because he chose Real Madrid’: Michael Owen admits Karim Benzema rejecting Sir Alex Ferguson was the reason behind his Old Trafford switch after playing for bitter rivals Liverpool

  • Michael Owen revealed Karim Benzema rejecting Manchester United helped him
  • The Englishman joined United after they were unable to sign Benzema from Lyon
  • Sir Alex Ferguson was desperate to try and bring Frenchman to Old Trafford
  • Owen praised striker for his all-round game after superb season for Real Madrid

Michael Owen revealed Manchester United only signed him because Sir Alex Ferguson was unable to convince Karim Benzema to join the club.

The Englishman arrived at Old Trafford in 2009 and spent three years in Manchester, with his first home goal coming in the form of a 96th-minute winner to give his side a 4-3 win over rivals Manchester City.  

But speaking ahead of the second leg of Chelsea’s Champions League tie with Real Madrid, Owen admitted he would never have joined United has Benzema decided to move to England rather than Spain when he left Lyon.

Michael Owen says he only joined Manchester United because Karim Benzema rejected them

Frenchman joined Real Madrid when he left Lyon despite Sir Alex Ferguson's desire to sign him

Frenchman joined Real Madrid when he left Lyon despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s desire to sign him

‘I only came to United because he chose Real Madrid instead of United,’ Owen told BT Sport.

‘The first time I got a call from Sir Alex Ferguson, he said “We want to sign Benzema, if we don’t get him… (we’re getting you).’  

The Madrid striker has been in superb form this season with 28 goals in all competitions, including a vital equaliser in last week’s first leg against Chelsea.

Benzema spent much of his early career in Spain playing second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo, but he is very much the main man for Zinedine Zidane’s side these days.

‘Yeah he’s in great form. Who isn’t going to be in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow when he’s at your club?,’ Owen said.

‘He’s in great form, he has a variety of finishes with either foot. Brilliant in the air, he places or goes for power. 

Benzema has been in top form for Madrid this season with 28 goals in all competitions so far

Benzema has been in top form for Madrid this season with 28 goals in all competitions so far

‘He can link up as well. He’s got power when he needs it, he’s brilliant in the air and when he sees an opportunity, he knows his team-mate alongside him but goes I’m the centre-forward – I’m the selfish one.’

Rio Ferdinand played against Benzema in 2008 while the striker was still at Lyon, as Manchester United overcame the French side in the Champions League.

The BT pundit confirmed that his former manager was a long time admirer of Frenchman and was desperate to bring him to Old Trafford.

‘The first I played against him, Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him,’ Ferdinand told BT Sport.

‘He was speaking to him in the tunnel after the game and Lyon officials had to pull him away. His movement that day was brilliant.’

Rio Ferdinand revealed how much Ferguson wanted to bring Benzema to Old Trafford in 2008

Rio Ferdinand revealed how much Ferguson wanted to bring Benzema to Old Trafford in 2008

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Mikel Arteta thrilled with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Arsenal captain marked return with a goal

Mikel Arteta left thrilled with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the Arsenal captain marks his return to fitness with a goal after recovering from malaria… and he hopes his star man can now lead them past Villarreal and into the Europa League final

  • Mikel Arteta hailed the return of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Sunday 
  • The striker netted in the Gunners’ 2-0 victory over Newcastle at St James’ Park 
  • Aubameyang played 77 minutes in his first start since recovering from malaria
  • He is looking to play a part in the Europa League semi-final against Villarreal 

Mikel Arteta hailed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s return to fitness and form as the striker looks to play a part in the second leg of Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final with Villarreal on Thursday. 

Aubameyang only managed a brief appearance from the bench as the Gunners were beaten 2-1 in the first leg in Spain last week. 

But the striker played 77 minutes as Arteta’s side beat Newcastle 2-0 on Sunday and he also netted the second goal to signal he is ready to play a bigger part in the return fixture at the Emirates.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored on his first start since recovering from malaria

Mikel Arteta hailed the striker's return to fitness ahead of the second leg of the Europa League semi-final with LaLiga side Villarreal

Mikel Arteta hailed the striker’s return to fitness ahead of the second leg of the Europa League semi-final with LaLiga side Villarreal

When asked if Aubameyang had played himself into contention, Arteta said: ‘We thought he wasn’t going to manage that (coming off the bench last week).

‘On Thursday, the day before, he was really struggling, to be fair, he could only manage to play 10 or 15 minutes.

‘But the day after and the day after, he started to feel better and it’s good to see that he was fine today. He performed well and he scored a goal, so it’s a real boost.’

The forward scored the second goal as Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-0 at St James' Park

The forward scored the second goal as Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-0 at St James’ Park

The Gunners went 2-0 down against Villarreal last week but were given a lifeline when Nicolas Pepe converted a penalty to score a crucial away goal.

Should Arsenal progress, they will likely face Manchester United in the final. The red Devils are heavy favourites having won their first leg 6-2. 

While Aubameyang’s return was pleasing for the Arsenal boss, the loss of David Luiz to injury leaves him with another problem.

The defender was forced off with a hamstring injury after making a comeback following knee surgery. 

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