Football: Chelsea manager Hiddink tells Eden Hazard focus on form

Eden Hazard has been urged by club manager Guus Hiddink to concentrate on getting back to his best for Chelsea, after the Belgian said it would be difficult to "say no" to European giants such as PSG, whom the Blues met last night. Hazard's main care
Eden Hazard has been urged by club manager Guus Hiddink to concentrate on getting back to his best for Chelsea, after the Belgian said it would be difficult to "say no" to European giants such as PSG, whom the Blues met last night. Hazard's main career target is to win the Champions League.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

Blues manager says last season's footballer of the year must show ability in 'biggest league'

PARIS • Eden Hazard has been warned by Guus Hiddink his priority should be to rediscover form and fitness at Chelsea after the Belgium midfielder admitted it would be "hard to turn down" a move to Paris Saint-Germain or other elite contenders for the Champions League.

The 25-year-old, who completed his first full match of the year at the weekend and was set to play in yesterday's Champions League last-16 tie against PSG at Parc des Princes, was asked about his future in an interview published by Le Parisien.

The reigning player of the year in English football insisted he did not expect to leave Chelsea, where he is contracted until 2020, this summer but did admit his principal career target remains to win the Champions League.

To that end, and when asked directly, he said it would be difficult to "say no" to PSG or Real Madrid if they declared an interest.

Chelsea, 12th in the Premier League, will have to win the Champions League to play in it next year.

Hiddink stressed the Belgian's priority should be to return to his best - he boasts a solitary club goal, against MK Dons , since May - and cast some doubt on the logic of returning to Ligue One, which the player won with Lille five years ago.

The Dutchman, asked how confident he was Hazard would remain at Chelsea next season, said: "Well, he has a contract that he extended but first he must get fit and show he is a top player and then for Chelsea, who are a top club, he can be of huge value. In the near future there will be more speculation about who is coming here or who is going but I don't go into that.

"PSG have big targets to win the Champions League and, step by step, they have gathered a reputation and are very serious about becoming one of the biggest teams in Europe, so this challenge, I can understand. But it is a different league. France is not a bad league but this team are now ahead (of second-placed Monaco) by 24 points. For me, I think big, big, big players always like to be in the biggest league, which is the Premier League, La Liga and also the Bundesliga."

PSG manager Laurent Blanc is a long-time admirer of Hazard and has stated that he would "love" to sign the playmaker.

While it remains to be seen if Hazard will ever play under Blanc, it appears that Serge Aurier is unlikely to play for the Frenchman again this season.

The 23-year-old Ivory Coast international, signed from Toulouse in 2014, has been suspended by the club after posting a video on social media in which he aimed a homophobic slur at Blanc and insulted several team-mates.

"I reacted very badly," said Blanc in a press conference on Monday as he addressed the controversy publicly for the first time.

"We are all free to think what we want to think and can have our own opinions but that boy, two years ago, I committed myself to make him come to Paris and seeing what I saw, that's all the thanks I got. And that's really pitiful."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2016, with the headline 'Hazard told to focus on form'. Print Edition | Subscribe