Hazard hints he will stay at Chelsea

LONDON • Eden Hazard gave indication that he is likely to reject any move away from Stamford Bridge, as the Chelsea playmaker said that he is looking forward to the slate of pre-season matches lined up.

The Blues will prepare for their English Premier League title defence with a pre-season tour of Asia, which includes a clash against Arsenal at the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing on July 22, followed by International Champions Cup (ICC) matches in Singapore against Bayern Munich (July 25) and Inter Milan (July 29).

It will be Chelsea's first pre-season visit to Asia since 2013, and Hazard - who has been linked with a potential move to Real Madrid - told the club website that he is looking forward to the tour.

"It's always good to see the fans and when we go abroad, we get to meet people from different cultures," the Belgian said.

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"For them it's good because they don't get to see us often, so it's nice for them to be able to watch the training and matches.

"It's enjoyable for us and them. I'm looking forward to it."

He is excited by the strong line-up for the ICC, saying: "Bayern Munich are one of the best teams in the world and Inter are also very strong, so they will be tough matches but I am looking forward to them both."

He is also pleased to spend almost a week based in Singapore for pre-season training.

"It's better because it means less travelling," he said. "When you are always travelling and playing, it can get boring.

"So if you can, it's better to stay in one place for longer as it enables you to work more.

"All the players enjoy our holidays, but we have to come back and work hard. It's important if you want to be ready for the first game."

• Tickets for the International Champions Cup are available at sportshubtix.com.sg, Sports Hub box office, Singapore Post outlets, and via phone booking at 3158-7888

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2017, with the headline 'Hazard hints he will stay at Chelsea'. Print Edition | Subscribe