Monday 18 November 2019

Sarri: Hazard's 'best in Europe'

PRAISE: Eden Hazard. Pic: PA
PRAISE: Eden Hazard. Pic: PA

Maurizio Sarri yesterday called Eden Hazard Europe's best as the forward's Chelsea future remains shrouded in doubt.

Hazard this week admitted to having decided his future, with his Chelsea contract expiring in June 2020 and amid repeated links with a £100million summer move to Real Madrid.

Chelsea coach Sarri, speaking before tomorrow's Premier League clash at Manchester City, was asked if he knew Hazard's choice.

"I speak every day with Eden, but I speak with Eden about his position on the pitch," said Sarri, who admits he does not expect Hazard's decision to be known until the summer. "I will be really very happy with him if he will want to stay, because in my opinion he's the best in Europe.

"But it's up to him, I think. I want to see him happy. And so, he has to decide."

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo clearly have more pedigree than Hazard, but Sarri may have been talking about the Belgian in the context of his position on the left wing.

Hazard played as a 'false nine' in December when Chelsea beat City 2-0, ending a 21-game unbeaten league run for Pep Guardiola's side.

Chelsea now have Gonzalo Higuain, on loan from Juventus, to play as the attacking focal point.

The Argentine and Hazard performed well in last week's 5-0 win over Huddersfield, showing signs of a promising partnership.

"He's a great player and I think he's very useful for Eden," said Sarri, who admitted Chelsea were "lucky" to beat City at Stamford Bridge earlier this season.

And Italian Sarri, 60, insisted Chelsea are not in the title race.

City lead on goal difference from Liverpool, with both sides 12 points clear of Chelsea.

Sarri added: "I think we will be able to fight for the top four this season. No more.

"The Premier League is a fight between Liverpool and Man City.''

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