John Terry … Didier Drogba … Frank Lampard … Eden Hazard? Three of the biggest legends of Chelsea Football Club and a fourth, who could join them if only he decided to stay and sign his new contract rather than leave for boyhood dream club Real Madrid in the summer.
Hazard has made it a point to keep all his options open whenever talking about his situation for the past year or more, but perhaps in the afterglow of his 100th and 101st goals for Chelsea, he let that mask slip for a minute.
”Scoring 101 goals with this amazing club is something I will never forget, but now I think the fans, the staff, myself, the players, we want more. I want to score more for this club and then try to be a legend like [Frank] Lampard, [John] Terry, [Didier] Drogba, I try to do my best. But when we are winning we can enjoy a lot.”
Was it his natural exuberance? Or did Eden Hazard finally tip his hand about leaving for Real Madrid in the summer? Did becoming just the 10th player in club history to reach 100 goals for the club made him realize that this is the place where needs to be, needs to stay, and will be loved forever?
We can only hope.
The Chelsea Centurion club is small and very exclusive. Hazard’s just the second foreign player to join.
Frank Lampard (2001-2014): 211
Bobby Tambling (1959-1970): 202
Kerry Dixon (1983-1992): 193
Didier Drogba (2004-2012, 2014-15): 164
Roy Bentley (1948-1956): 150
Peter Osgood (164-1974, 1978-79): 150
Jimmy Greaves (1957-1961): 132
George Mills (1929-1943): 125
George Hilsdon (1906-1912): 108
Eden Hazard (2012-): 101
His name is already in lights; if he signs, it can be etched in stone.
“We showed great character against Manchester City after losing to Wolves and today we did the same. We lost three days ago against Leicester and we needed to respond on the pitch and we did well. When we can fight together we are a top team so we need to do it more often.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Sky
Hazard says he’s enjoying his football right now, even if he’s playing a new position and one that he did not enjoy under the previous regime. He’s made four consecutive starts as the false-nine center forward, and in those four matches he’s now scored three goals and dished three assists. Even when Pedro got injured and Giroud would’ve been the obvious substitute, Sarri brought on young Callum Hudson-Odoi instead to keep Hazard in the center.
You know he’s doing well when the Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo comparisons start coming out again.
“Of course he’s very important for us but Messi is very important for Barcelona, Ronaldo is important for Juventus. He’s a great player, he’s able to play in every position. At the moment he’s playing as a false nine and he’s able to play there.
“He scored two and made two or three good assists. He’s very able to open spaces for his team-mates. He can play very well in every position.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Chelsea FC
The first goal came on a break, Chelsea’s midfield pressure forcing a turnover and Kovacic finding Hazard in step with a perfect pass. The second came on a penalty after Ben Foster dumped him in the box. He also missed an easy sitter in the first-half, when he somehow failed to make contact with Azpilicueta’s excellent low cross.
Sign the contract, Eden!