Willian has opened up about Eden Hazard’s departure from Chelsea and said the team expected the Belgian’s Real Madrid move.
Hazard joined the La Liga giants last summer after seven years at Chelsea.
The Belgian had been linked to Real for years before the transfer was announced. Many Chelsea fans were surprised by the move but, according to Willian, not the team themselves.
Speaking to ESPN Brasil, Willian said: “By the time speculation started, we already knew. He had this desire to play in Madrid, it was something we were waiting for.
“Of course, it was certainly very bad to lose him as a good friend and workmate. But that was it: sad on the one hand and happy on the other.”
The 31-year-old also said Hazard has been “unfortunate with two injuries” at Real Madrid but believes his former teammate will come back stronger.
Willian said Hazard was the player who impressed him the most throughout his Chelsea career.
He added: “We played together for six years and lived special moments together. He’s a guy who’s still my friend today.”
Not long after Hazard left, Willian was given Chelsea’s number 10 shirt.
Asked whether the criticism he has been getting for wearing the number bothers him, he said: “No, I was not upset, no. I also always liked to dress at 10, since when I started, on the basis of Corinthians and professional, too. It is a number that I feel good about.”