Jose Mourinho: Hazard is going nowhere
Jose Mourinho insists top midfielder Eden Hazard will not be leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid. Hazard was the target of praise from Bernabeu insider Zinedine Zidane, prompting speculation Hazard could be a summer target for the Spanish club
London: Jose Mourinho insists top midfielder Eden Hazard will not be leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid. The Belgium playmaker was the target of praise from Bernabeu insider Zinedine Zidane, prompting speculation Hazard could be a summer target for the Spanish club.
But Chelsea manager Mourinho is adamant there is no risk of Hazard wanting to leave Stamford Bridge after signing a five-and-a-half year contract to remain at the club earlier this year. He said: "He has just signed a new contract. We didn't put a gun against his head. He had lots of time to think about it. "He had the family to assist him in his analysis. He likes Chelsea, he likes the league, he likes the team. "He made a commitment for the future of the team by signing up. It is a very good contract. I don't think he is interested in anything else."
Zidane bracketed the Chelsea man with Cristiano Ronaldo and Leonardo Messi when singling out players he likes currently. Hazard is a strong favourite to dominate the domestic player of the year awards after an impressive season with Chelsea. But while Mourinho agrees with the former France international's assessment of his player's standing, but insists individual recognition is secondary to the achievements of his team who are poised to clinch the Premier league title. The manager said: "I think he is now (among the top three players in the world) but this is not our culture in this country, it's not our culture in the club.
And it's not even my culture as a coach to be going in the direction; 'the best, the second best, the third best..' "I would say that in this moment he is a fantastic player. I always say that the most important thing is the team target and the objective for this season is for the team.
"If he wins the Premier League, his season is absolutely fantastic. If on the top of that he has some individual awards, it's nice." Chelsea can move a step closer towards clinching the title if they can beat Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Victory will move them 13 points clear of Arsene Wenger's side with just five games remaining and the game will carry an added edge for Cesc Fabregas who will make a first return to his former club since joining Chelsea from Barcelona last June.
The former Arsenal captain could receive a mixed reception but Mourinho insists his player will remain unaffected. He said: "I am not worried about that. Frank Lampard returned to Stamford Bridge without any kind of problem and got a good reception.
"I don't see a reason for Cesc Fabregas to have the same at the Emirates. "But if he has some bad reactions, I think he is one of the players who is more than ready. He played at Barcelona in a Arsenal shirt so I don't see him playing at the Emirates in a Chelsea shirt." Diego Costa remains doubtful with a hamstring injury while Loic Remy is definitely out, prompting Mourinho to put teenage striker Dominic Solanke on standby for a possible Premier League debut.
Mourinho said: "Didier Drogba for sure, he's good, he's fine. Remy not, for sure. And Diego, let's take a decision tomorrow. "Diego is a very important player for us but the reality is we are coping with the difficulties of every match without him.
Remy did well for us, Didier is doing well for us. The team is playing in a different way, we are doing our job. "We played amazingly well during most part of the season, scoring a lot of goals and controlling the games very, very well by having very good quality in our possession. "But in the last few weeks we have played in a different way. We have been more strategic and less artistic."