Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard has revealed what the scenario would have to be in order for him to ever consider leaving Chelsea.
The Belgian has been linked with a move to Real Madrid but, after reflecting on a difficult 12 months at Chelsea, the 25-year-old has a clear idea about the legacy he would want to leave behind at Stamford Bridge.
“If I ever leave, it’ll be after winning a championship,” Hazard said to The Guardian.
“You need to go out on a high so that people remember you for the right reasons.
“I’m playing without pain now. Last year was complicated. Some people didn’t believe it, but I played with [a hip] injury for a long time.
“I was never 100 per cent and when you are not completely fit it’s hard to play at your best.
“But I had a good break after the Euros, a good pre-season, and was ready. Liberated, yes. It feels like that sometimes, being injury-free and if a system brings the best out of you.
“Back in March I’d spoken [to Antonio Conte] about the difficult season I’d had up to then, and what he expected of me in the year to come.
“His passion and enthusiasm for the job were obvious. I made clear I had no intention of leaving after such a poor year. I didn’t want to go out like that.”
Conte hails ‘fantastic’ Hazard
Meanwhile Conte believes Hazard’s performances are “fantastic”, because he is putting the team first.
“In this moment he’s a great player above all because he’s working a lot for the team,” Conte said.
The Belgium playmaker was key in Chelsea’s 2014-15 title success, but disappointed last season when he had a niggling hip injury as Chelsea finished a lowly 10th.
And Conte says it is premature to compare the 25-year-old to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid.
“It’s important now Eden is showing his talent and playing very well,” Conte added. “If we want to compare him with the other players, it’s not right at this moment.
“He has all the potential to do great things in his career. Now it’s important he’s putting himself in the team.”