Eden Hazard has put an end to speculation about his future at Chelsea, insisting he has no intention of leaving the club after such a poor season.
The Belgian star received a lot of criticism for his performances in the 2015/16 season, during which he managed to score just six goals in all competitions. With Chelsea failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League, Hazard has been consistently linked with the likes of Real Madrid and PSG in the past few months.
However, the 25-year-old, who will captain his country in the absence of Vincent Kompany at the upcoming Euros, insisted that he will honour his Chelsea contract and will not leave Stamford Bridge on such a sour note.
“I have a contract until 2020. I don’t want to finish like this,” Hazard was quoted as saying by Telefoot. “If I have to leave, I must do it like a boss! Like I did in Lille. PSG is not among my projects right now. Everything was complicated, it was difficult. Honestly, for five or six years I’d always been at my best and this was the first season where it was more difficult. But everyone knows that in a career there are highs and lows.”
Hazard further stated that he hoped his form would improve next season under Antonio Conte. He said, “For the time being, touch wood, I’ve only experienced the highs — except for this season, when it wasn’t quite as good. But it was meant to happen this season. I hope it doesn’t happen again next season.”
Chelsea need to hold on to their best player
Hazard might have had an unusually long rough patch of form in the past season, but Chelsea have little to gain from his sale. Even if the Blues receive a big transfer fee, their chances of being able to reinvest that in a better player are close to zero.
The Belgian remains the most skilful player on the club’s books and his strong finish to the season will have given the Blues’ faithful cause for optimism. Although Hazard might not have the defensive abilities or work-rate of Oscar, Willian or even Pedro, his ability to unlock defences with his dribbling and passing makes him crucial to Chelsea’s attacking play.
Besides, the Belgian’s dramatic dip in form was partly due to the recurring injuries he suffered over the course of the past season, according to his national team coach Marc Wilmots. Keeping Hazard at the club is a priority for Antonio Conte this summer, but fortunately for the Italian, it appears he will not have much convincing to do when he formally takes over in July.