Eden Hazard revealed Joe Cole was instrumental in convincing him to sign for Chelsea when he was still at Lille. Cole announced his retirement from football this week, and spent his best years at Chelsea winning three Premier League titles.

While Cole was a Liverpool player he spent time on loan at Lille, where Hazard first burst onto the scene.

And with his former team-mate hanging up his boots, Hazard paid a special tribute to Cole. ‘I spoke to him before I signed for Chelsea,’ Hazard said.

‘Every day, seriously, he was telling me that Chelsea was the best club for me.

‘He said Chelsea was a big club where you can win trophies every season. For that reason I signed, so thank you, Joe Cole.’ Chelsea fans will be thankful for Cole’s intervention, as the Belgian is now their most influential player.

Hazard is the early frontrunner for Premier League player of the year after a sensational start to his season with Chelsea.

The forward has scored eight goals and provided four assists in 14 appearances this season. Chelsea supporters are delighted with Hazard’s form, but fear the 27-year-old may be in his final campaign in London.

Hazard has spoken openly about joining Real Madrid, and admitted he hopes to sign for the Spanish giants, but insisted he will not force his way out of Chelsea.