Chelsea winger Eden Hazard gave an extensive interview with Le Parisien, during which he discussed the London side’s upcoming clash with PSG and more. Highlights.
How are things at Chelsea?
Things are going a bit better since the arrival of the new manager. Sadly, that is not yet translating in terms of results. We are still not able to win games consecutively. In fact, to be honest, we are not advancing, neither in terms of our position in the table, nor in terms of our football. In the past years, Chelsea was at the top. This season, it is a hassle.
You are facing Chelsea for the third consecutive year. How did you feel when you found out?
Everybody at Chelsea was saying: “Oh no, not Paris! Not them!”
Because we still remember what happened last year. We had all the cards in our hands to qualify, we were playing at Stamford Bridge, with 11 against 10 and we were eliminated by conceding two goals from corners, which is usually our strong point. Also, you have to recognise that this year, PSG are scary.
This team wins every match, has great players in every position. Now, they are at the level of Real or Barça in Spain. The opponents arrive at the Parc des Princes knowing that they are in for a rough ride.
Will Chelsea be in for a rough ride?
Everything is possible. We could be thumped just like we could qualify. Our squad is rich with great individuals, we also have talent. You should not count us out too quickly. Fine, I will say, to make you happy, that PSG are slight favourites.
Who is the strongest PSG player, in your opinion?
Marco Verratti. He controls the midfield, he does everything. When the team is not having the best day it is he who takes control of the play and who unblocks the situation. After that, Ibra is always there to score and Di Maria is also having a great season.
Last year, he had a bad experience at Manchester United. Everybody forgot about him a bit. And now, he has become one of the best players in the world again. Very quickly I might add.
How do you explain the fact that your squad has ultimately barely changed, yet to have gone from being the champions to spending the season in the second half of the table?
Individually, we are less good than we were last year. The heart of the problem is the our mental state. We perhaps over-celebrated our Premier League title. We lulled ourselves into a false sense of security, without a doubt. We thought that, without much work, we were going to start the season again and win our matches…
But nothing happened as we expected it to. Aside from that, when you try to come back, the doubt has already been planted. And at the same time, our opponents have a huge desire to beat the league champions…
To what extent is José Mourinho responsible?
He certainly is partially responsible, but the players are mainly responsible. We are the ones on the pitch… He paid for us not being good enough. Anyway, after he was sacked, I sent him a text message to tell him that I was sorry and asked for his forgiveness for not having been at my normal level recently.
Your new manager, Guus Hiddink, recently said that you could leave Chelsea this summer. Is he right?
Everything is possible, it is true. But I still have contract which runs for 4.5 years. Even if things have been difficult this year, I feel good at Chelsea. I am in a good squad that can win trophies every season…
I do not think about it [leaving]. In any case, every transfer window, it is said: “Eden will leave.” And each time that I said that I was going to stay, I stayed. On the other hand, I said during my last season at Lille that I was going to leave and I left.
Do you know where you will be next season?
No, I don’t know. Because there is always uncertainty in football. If we stick to the contract, then I will still be at Chelsea next season.
Are you interested in PSG?
It is hard to say no to PSG, like all the teams who have the capability to win the Champions League. Now, PSG is part of that group. And for me, to win the Champions League, that is my principal aim. But for the moment, I am not dwelling on that.
Has Zinedine Zidane’s arrival at Real Madrid given you one extra reason to be interested in joining that club?
Of course Zidane, that makes you interested, he was my idol when he was a player… and for a long time he has been saying good things about me. In any case, I want to work with the best managers in the world.
I do not know if Zidane is already part of that group, he has only been managing Real Madrid since the beginning of January.