Friday 15 November 2019

Zola: Hazard can thrive at Chelsea

Gianfranco Zola, pictured, believes Eden Hazard can only get better at Chelsea
Gianfranco Zola, pictured, believes Eden Hazard can only get better at Chelsea

Gianfranco Zola believes Eden Hazard has the ideal conditions to attain even greater heights at Chelsea and under Jose Mourinho.

The 23-year-old Belgium playmaker is the PFA and Football Writers' Association player of the year after an outstanding season.

Zinedine Zidane recently spoke of his admiration for Hazard, leading to suggestions of a possible move to Real Madrid, but the forward signed a five-and-a-half year contract earlier this season and is valued at "£100million each leg" by Mourinho.

Zola, voted Chelsea's greatest ever player by fans, told Press Association Sport: "I don't think Chelsea would be willing to let him go and he has signed a new contract. It will be great for Chelsea and for him if he stays.

"He's got perfect conditions to keep improving and to try to get to another level. I believe Chelsea really can provide that for him.

"He's an amazing player. You like to see players like him playing.

"He's one of those players you'd pay for a ticket to go and watch, even if you don't support the team he's playing for.

"This year he's been very effective. He's learnt to use his qualities in the best way to be more effective for himself and his team.

"I can see him getting better and better because he's young and he plays for a team and a manager that will be pushing him to improve all the time."

Zola believes Chelsea, who on Monday at West Brom suffered their third Barclays Premier League loss of the season, are deserving champions ahead of Sunday's final fixture against Sunderland, after which the Blues will be presented with the trophy.

"I don't think Chelsea winning the title has ever been in doubt," Zola said

"That tells you all about how dominant and good they've been.

"At the beginning of the season they produced some fantastic football as well. Probably some of the best football we've seen from Chelsea.

"Towards the end of the season they became more pragmatic. But it was an important stage of the season to play like that.

"The Premier League is a type of league that demands a lot. It's very difficult to play the same standard of football throughout it."

Zola was speaking alongside Rachel Key, a Chelsea fan who has been selected to present the Premier League trophy to captain John Terry.

Key, whose middle name is Chelsea, was selected from the community scheme Barclays Premier League Works Chelsea, which is a programme run by the club to help young people back into full time education and employment.

"He's my favourite player from when I was little. People from my area used to call me Zola. He's my idol," Key said.

The 23-year-old from west Kensington is an aspiring football coach who is hoping to work for Chelsea, the club she has supported all of her life.

"It's my middle name, so I didn't have a choice," she said.

"My dad wanted it as my first name but my mum said no. My dad's a massive Chelsea fan."

On Sunday's trophy presentation, Key added: "It means the world. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"I'm just really grateful to be chosen and quite nervous.

"A lot of people have called us boring this season but it's not boring when you're lifting the trophy."

:: Barclays is delighted to give young Chelsea fan and Spirit of the Game Hero Rachel Key the opportunity to present the Barclays Premier League trophy to Chelsea this Sunday. To watch Rachel's story search Barclays Football on Facebook.

PA Media

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