Pulisic aims to be next Hazard

Christian Pulisic in his new team's colours at Stamford Bridge. He is Chelsea's third costliest signing after Kepa and Alvaro Morata. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/CHELSEAFC
Christian Pulisic in his new team's colours at Stamford Bridge. He is Chelsea's third costliest signing after Kepa and Alvaro Morata. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/CHELSEAFC

New Chelsea signing hopes to make his mark and be inspiration to young American players

LONDON • Christian Pulisic has said that he wants to make the same impact that Eden Hazard has had at Chelsea and hopes to play alongside the Belgium superstar at Stamford Bridge.

The US international signed a 5½-year contract with Maurizio Sarri's team in January but was immediately loaned backed to Germany to finish the season at Borussia Dortmund.

"It is incredible to see what Eden can do," attacking midfielder Pulisic, 20, told the BBC. "He (Hazard) is a guy to look up to and what I would love to become.

"It is definitely a goal. Any player would be dumb not to want to be in the same team as him."

But the £58 million (S$101.2 million) signing appears unlikely to get his wish, with the Chelsea star linked with a move to Real Madrid.

The Belgian forward said earlier this month that he has made a decision on his future. Any announcement of a deal with Real, however, is likely to be delayed until the conclusion of the Europa League final against Arsenal next Wednesday in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Pulisic, who scored four times in 20 league appearances last season as Dortmund finished second to Bayern Munich, said he wanted to inspire young American footballers.

YOUNG GUN

I don't want to be looked at as someone who is the youngest to do this or that. I just want to be an established player and someone people respect, who is successful in this league.

CHRISTIAN PULISIC, Chelsea's new signing, who is both the youngest player to captain the US and score for them in a World Cup qualifier.

"I don't want to be looked at as someone who is the youngest to do this or that," said Pulisic, who is both the youngest player to captain the United States and to score for them in a World Cup qualifier.

"I just want to be an established player and someone people respect, who is successful in this league. It is completely new to me and something not a lot of American players have experienced."

Pulisic spent part of his childhood in England and relished the football culture.

"I soon realised how much people over here loved the game. To be in that culture and get thrown right in just grew my passion even more," he said.

"Every day after school I was on the court playing. I would go to games with my dad, including one at Chelsea. I don't remember how old I was but it would have been around the time Jose Mourinho was there.

"The fans were screaming and yelling. The atmosphere was fantastic. I had never seen anything like it."

Pulisic would likely have seen Petr Cech in action then and it was reported on Tuesday that the goalkeeper will return to the Blues as sporting director when he retires from playing after the Europa League final, according to Sky Sports and other British media.

The 37-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper responded to the reports by tweeting: "Despite the news today as I had already said to everybody before, I'll make (a) decision about my future after the last game. Now my sole focus is to win the EL with @Arsenal."

Chelsea were not immediately available to comment on the media reports.

Former Czech Republic international Cech, who won 124 caps, spent 11 seasons at Stamford Bridge, winning the Champions League and Europa League, four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and three League Cups before moving to the Gunners in 2015.

He had previously announced that he would retire from playing at the end of this season.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2019, with the headline 'Pulisic aims to be next Hazard'. Print Edition | Subscribe