Chelsea star Eden Hazard: It's hard to say no to Paris St Germain
Eden Hazard has been told by Guus Hiddink to concentrate on getting fit and rediscovering his form for Chelsea after the player admitted - just 24 hours before tonight's Champions League game at Paris Saint-Germain - that it would be "hard to say no" to a move to the French club.
Hazard, who was crowned PFA Player of the Year and Football Writers' Footballer of the Year after inspiring Chelsea to the Premier League title last season, has scored just one goal in all competitions for the club during this campaign - a penalty in last month's FA Cup fourth-round victory against MK Dons.
But despite his poor form, the Belgian winger remains a target for French champions PSG as well as Real Madrid.
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Parisien yesterday, the 25-year-old did not play down the prospect of a move to the Parc des Princes in the event of confirmed interest from the runaway Ligue 1 leaders.
He said: "It's hard to say no to PSG, as with all teams capable of winning the Champions League."
Hazard continued: “I do not know, because there is always uncertainty in football. If we stick to the contract, I’ll still be at Chelsea next season.
“Even if things are complicated this season, I am at Chelsea. I’m in a good group that can win trophies every season.”
When asked whether he would be interested in a move to Real, Hazard also did little to dampen speculation of his readiness to consider leaving Chelsea, three years after arriving from Lille.
“Of course with (coach Zinedine) Zidane, it makes you want it, as he was my idol when he was a player,” Hazard added.
“I want to work with the best coaches in the world, but I do not know if Zidane is already part of this category — he has only led Real since early January.”
With Hiddink in interim charge of Chelsea only until the end of the season, having been appointed to his role following the dismissal of Jose Mourinho in December, the Dutchman is unlikely to have any role in deciding whether Hazard remains at Stamford Bridge beyond the spring.
But with owner Roman Abramovich expected to reinvest in the squad when he appoints a permanent manager in the summer, Hazard is unlikely to be allowed to leave and Hiddink insisted that the player should concentrate solely on returning to his best form rather than talking up the prospect of a move elsewhere.
“Well, he (Hazard) has a contract that he extended,” Hiddink said. “But first he must now get fit and show he is a top player and then, for Chelsea — which is a top club — he can be of huge value.
“In the near future, there will be more speculation about who is coming here or who is going but I don’t go into that.”
Hiddink, who did not name the injured captain John Terry in his squad for the trip to Paris for the round of 16 first leg, also played down the strength of the French league — which PSG currently lead by 24 points from second-placed Monaco — when discussing whether Hazard should be contemplating a move to the Parc des Princes.
“For me, I think big, big, big players always like to be in the biggest league, which is the Premier League and La Liga, and also the Bundesliga,” Hiddink said.
“It is not a bad league, but this team (PSG) is on top of that.
“PSG have big targets to win the Champions League. Step by step, they have gathered a reputation that they are very serious to be one of the biggest teams in Europe.
“So this challenge I can understand, but it is a different league. They are now ahead I think by 24 points.”