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Wednesday 17 September 2014

PSG boss Blanc hints at end-of-season move for Hazard

MATT LAW

Published 01/04/2014 | 20:00

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Eden Hazard could be a target for PSG at the end of the season.
Eden Hazard could be a target for PSG at the end of the season.

Paris St-Germain head coach Laurent Blanc hinted the French club will bid for Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard at the end of the season.

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“We know Eden Hazard very well in France,” said Blanc. “I played against him as a coach, and he was always very impressive, one on one, and how fast on his feet. He's scored goals at Chelsea in England and has the freedom to go everywhere when Chelsea are in a difficult moment. He's still young and has a very bright future.”

Asked if he wants to sign Hazard, Blanc added: “Let's play the two games against Chelsea.”

PSG are 13 points clear at the top of Ligue 1, but Blanc dismissed Mourinho’s opinion that the French club have an advantage in the Champions League because they play in an uncompetitive league.

Mourinho, who won one Primera Division title in three seasons in Spain in a Barcelona-led duopoly, had suggested winning Ligue 1 is easy, stoking the fires ahead of his Chelsea side's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.

''Maybe if we're talking about the league and I'm sure that Jose Mourinho knows the French league very well,'' Blanc said.

“There are two big clubs who are going to dominate the French league,” said Blanc. “If I remember correctly, it was the same for him in Spain with Real Madrid and Barcelona.

“We'll see how it goes. But we just want to put in a great performance tonight and show that Ligue 1 has some very strong teams and big players out on the pitch.”

''The only answer we want to give is to show a great performance tomorrow and we'd like to show that Ligue 1 has some very good teams and some very good players.''

Meanwhile, time is running out for 32-year-old PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to earn a Champions League winners' medal.

Despite plying his trade with many of Europe's elite clubs – from Ajax to AC Milan to Barcelona – Ibrahimovic has not yet lifted the European Cup.

It is something he is eager to rectify with PSG, but he is not yet ready to consider that it might be this season.

''This is my last contract in Europe and to win it I will have to win it with Paris,'' said Ibrahimovic, who is under contract at the Parc des Princes until 2016.

''The day I leave Paris is the day I will go down a level or quit football.

''If we will be the kings of Europe, I don't know. I don't want to think so far (ahead). Let's think about the two games against Chelsea.''

Ibrahimovic, who has scored 41 goals in his last 36 appearances for club and country, does not expect to get another opportunity with a Premier League club, as PSG's Qatari owners would be reluctant to let him depart, leaving a host of potential suitors disappointed.

Ibrahimovic, himself, is content.

''It's impossible to get me to England,'' added Ibrahimovic, who revealed potential moves earlier in his career did not materialise.

''The day I stop with football it will not be that I look back and I say to myself 'Maybe I should've played in England.'

''I haven't been part of it. I made stories in other countries. It's nothing that I regret.''

The disappointed would include Mourinho, who managed Ibrahimovic at Inter Milan.

''I connected with him,'' Ibrahimovic said.

''Wherever he went he won. He's a great coach, he knows what he's doing, he knows what he needs to do to win and he has the experience.''

Ibrahimovic believes PSG are eight years behind Chelsea in 'project' terms after a cash-injection to surpass Roman Abramovich's in the early years.

As a result, Ibrahimovic believes the Londoners are favourites to advance to the last four for a seventh time in 11 years; PSG are in the quarter-finals for the third time and last season exited to Barcelona on away goals.

''In our game I think Chelsea is the super favourite,'' he said.

Telegraph.co.uk

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