Football: I'm a blueblood, says Eden Hazard

Chelsea's Eden Hazard with the English Premier League trophy at Stamford Bridge on May 21. He said that despite the club returning to the Champions League next season, it is the Blues' intention to keep the EPL title in their possession.
Chelsea's Eden Hazard with the English Premier League trophy at Stamford Bridge on May 21. He said that despite the club returning to the Champions League next season, it is the Blues' intention to keep the EPL title in their possession.PHOTO: REUTERS

Despite attention from Real Madrid, Belgian says his loyalty to Chelsea is without question

Chelsea star Eden Hazard has given the English Premier League champions a huge boost by reaffirming his commitment to the Blues amid speculation that Spanish giants Real Madrid are poised to prise him away.

In an exclusive interview with The Straits Times, the Belgian attacker said he sees his future at the club and spoke about his ambitions next season.

Hazard, who has two years left on his current Chelsea deal, told ST over the phone from London on Tuesday: "I'm good here. I'm at one of the best clubs in the world and I think I'm gonna stay for a couple of years. I'm very happy. You can see (from my performances) on the pitch that I'm happy.

"Next season, we will have the Champions League to play but we want to keep the Premier League trophy in Chelsea. It's going to be hard but we know (people) expect a lot from Chelsea now."

He added: "But now is the time to think about holidays."

The squad have dispersed for their summer vacation and will regroup in July, when they will head to Singapore for the July 25-29 International Champions Cup (ICC).

  • EDEN HAZARD AT CHELSEA (2012-PRESENT)

  • MAJOR TROPHIES WON 4 Premier League (2014-15 & 2016-17), Europa League (2012-13), League Cup (2014-15)

    GOALS 72

    ASSISTS 62

PROSPECT OF A CLEAN SWEEP

It's the dream of players to win everything but in football, it's very hard. We will work for that and we will see. We won the league and if we want to achieve more, we have to improve and work more.

EDEN HAZARD, playing down N'Golo Kante's assertion that the Blues are aiming to win all four titles next season.

Besides Chelsea, the ICC will feature German champions Bayern Munich and Italian giants Inter Milan in a round-robin, three-match tournament at the National Stadium.

Recently crowned Player of the Year at Chelsea's end-of-season awards ceremony, the 26-year-old Hazard believes these pre-season fixtures will help the team fine-tune their preparations for the new term, which promises to be an even busier campaign.

Last month, team-mate N'Golo Kante said that Chelsea would be gunning for a quadruple next term, but Hazard was more pragmatic with his targets.

Asked if Chelsea could win all the titles on offer, he said: "It's the dream of players to win everything but in football, it's very hard. We will work for that and we will see.

"We won the league and if we want to achieve more, we have to improve and work more. And if we bring in some new players, why not? "

Indeed, with a heavier fixture list ahead of them - the Blues did not take part in any European competition last season - the squad needs to be reinforced. One player linked with Chelsea is Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku, who left Chelsea in 2014 to join Everton. Lukaku scored 25 league goals last season.

On the prospect of linking up with his international team-mate at club level, Hazard said: "He's a great player, a great guy and a good friend but he will have to make his own choice.

"He's still young, only 24 but every season he has scored a lot of goals in the Premier League and this shows he's a good striker because the Premier League is very tough.

"But it's not my job to say we need him. The owner and manager are there to buy players. We will see."

Transfer funds have reportedly been set aside, with British media reporting that manager Antonio Conte has been given a £200 million (S$354 million) war chest this summer.

The Italian tactician has been linked with a move to Inter, but Hazard hopes Conte will stay and guide the Blues next season.

Said the Belgian, whose 16 league goals was his best return since moving to Stamford Bridge in 2012: "He's a great manager. When we came back in the pre-season, it was intense, and if we won this season, it's because of that. We practised a lot of tactics, also (worked on) fitness and running.

"For me, it was the first time in England where we worked a lot in the gym.

"And yeah, we want to look forward (to next season) with him."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2017, with the headline 'Hazard: I'm a blueblood'. Print Edition | Subscribe