Eden Hazard chose Chelsea in the summer of 2012 / Otto Greule Jr/GettyImages

Eden Hazard has admitted Chelsea weren’t on his initial radar when thinking about his next move in 2012, holding talks with several Premier League rivals first.

Hazard had made his name at Lille as part of their 2010/11 domestic double-winning team and was ready for a big-money move the following year at the age of 21. Chelsea eventually won the race and he went on to play over 350 games for the club, winning six trophies in the process.

But it was only after the Blues had won the Champions League in 2012, thereby securing their place in the competition for the following season, that Hazard considered them a viable option after already speaking with Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.

“I had a chat with Sir Alex Ferguson. I spoke with Harry Redknapp when he was manager at Tottenham. I went to Manchester to see the Man City training ground,” Hazard explained to former teammate John Obi Mikel on the popular The Obi One Podcast.

“So I had a few options, but not Chelsea. My last year at Lille, Chelsea were not that good in the league. When they won the Champions League, in the league like sixth or seventh, I don’t remember. I knew I was leaving France to go to the Premier League, but not to Chelsea because I wanted to play in the Champions League. That move came because Chelsea won the Champions League.”

Confirming he wouldn’t have joined if the club hadn’t won the Champions League, Hazard added: “Chelsea was far away. That’s why I say thank you to [Didier] Drogba.”

Drogba scored the late equaliser in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in Munich, as well as later converting the decisive penalty in the shootout.

As a result of finishing outside the Premier League’s top four during the 2011/12 season, Chelsea would have been absent from the Champions League in 2012/13 had they not won it. As it happened, they secured a place as holders to usurp Tottenham, who had finished fourth.

Chelsea announced the signing of Hazard just over two weeks after the final.