Eden Hazard has given Chelsea fans fresh hope by hinting he will stay at the club after claiming he and manager Maurizio Sarri “think the same” about football.
The Belgian, who is the Blues’ star man has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid over the past couple of transfer windows.
Hazard, 28, said he has “made a decision” regarding his future at Stamford Bridge, sparking fear among Chelsea fans he’s on his way out.
But in an interview with The Times, Hazard was full of praise for Sarri, claiming he and his boss think alike on how football should be played.
Hazard said: “The manager likes possession! He’s a lot about statistics. Numbers. Possession. Shooting. Goal opportunity.
“In the past we used to play more counter-attack. It is different with Sarri than with (Antonio) Conte and (Jose) Mourinho.
“Sometimes we keep possession, and I understand the fans want us to go forward [more directly], but it is part of the football.
“We are still learning about his concept. We are doing well. I like this kind of football.
“Sarri is a great manager. He’s an old man [60, meaning experienced] but the way he thinks is the same way I think about football.”
Hazard has had a very good season so far, scoring 15 times in 31 games this term.
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On occasions he has been forced to play in a false nine role this season as Sarri has given up on strikers Alvaro Morata, who joined Atletico Madrid on loan in January, and Olivier Giroud.
But the arrival of Gonzalo Higuain on loan from Juventus should allow for Hazard to play in his preferred position off the lone striker permanently.
Higuain and Hazard have played together twice, both scoring two goals each during their 5-0 victory over Huddersfield last weekend.
And Chelsea‘s No.10 was optimistic about what his partnership with Higuain might bring in the future.
Hazard added: “When we have the ball, we have a lot of freedom, not just me but the striker and the right [attacker] Willian or Pedro, so we can move a lot.
“I’ve only played two games with Higuain and I know we can do something great together, not only with him but also with the other strikers, the other winger.
“Chelsea is not about Higuain and Hazard, it is about 25 players. But Higuain is a fantastic striker.
“He needs to adapt a bit to English football because it is different to Spain and Italy. “Higuain has a lot of experience. He’s scored everywhere. He’s a nice guy, quiet. But he will score goals, for sure.”