Belfast Telegraph

Mourinho hails Hazard

Eden Hazard is set to sign a new deal with Chelsea, where Jose Mourinho believes he can become an all-time great.

Now in his third season at Stamford Bridge, the 23-year-old winger is playing better than ever and has netted four goals in his last seven matches.

The Belgium international is set to be rewarded with a lucrative, long-term deal in west London, with reports suggesting he will become the Blues' highest-paid player.

Figures of £200,000-a-week have been bandied about and Mourinho confirmed Hazard will be imminently putting pen to paper.

"He will [sign]," the Portuguese said. "I was never worried about it, since the moment I met his father.

"Everything was very clear about their intentions and their happiness to stay with Chelsea.

"After that, it becomes a numbers situation. When it becomes a number situation, I'm more than happy to be out.

"But my club always told me that the situation would finish with a new contract, so I was never worried about that."

Hazard has certainly justified the £32million Chelsea paid Lille for his services in 2012, with his fine performances last term earning him the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

That is one of a number of individual accolades the Belgian has picked up, although the only collective medal he has won with Chelsea is last year's Europa League.

More silverware looks set to arrive this season, though - the kind of success which makes Mourinho confident Hazard can enter club folklore.

"I think so, I think so," Mourinho said when asked whether Hazard can become an all-time great at Chelsea. "He needs to win titles because titles make players' history.

"I don't know players who are considered legends in clubs without winning titles, so he has to do that but the potential, I think, everybody knows."

Hazard will look to continue his fine form at Stoke on Monday, when Chelsea attempt to secure a fourth consecutive win in all competitions.

Didier Drogba and Kurt Zouma can be called upon after overcoming knocks sustained in the Capital One Cup defeat of Derby, while Thibaut Courtois is in line to return at the Britannia Stadium.

The Belgian goalkeeper has missed the previous two matches with a muscular injury, but looks set to come in for Petr Cech at the Britannia Stadium - a decision Mourinho says was easy, despite the Chelsea stalwart's displays.

"No," he said when asked if it was tougher to bring Courtois back in. "Petr's performances are the normal performances from one of the three best goalkeepers in the world, so simple.

"I think [Courtois will be back]. I can't confirm 100 per cent, but I think so."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph