Eden Hazard puts trophy before transfer talkhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/football/eden-hazard-puts-trophy-before-transfer-talk-5721371/

Eden Hazard puts trophy before transfer talk

Eden Hazard's teammates Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Willian hoped the Belgian would stay at the club. Chelsea will not be allowed to sign a replacement if Hazard leaves after FIFA upheld the one-year transfer ban earlier this week.

Eden Hazard celebrates after winning penalty the shootout (REUTERS)

Eden Hazard will do everything in his power to help Chelsea win the Europa League later this month in what might be his final game for the Premier League club, the playmaker has said. Hazard converted the decisive spot-kick in the 4-3 shootout win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday that sent Chelsea into the May 29 final against fellow London club Arsenal in Baku.

The 28-year-old is expected to leave Chelsea at the end of the season after seven years at Stamford Bridge, with British media linking him with a move to Real Madrid.

“If it’s my last game I will try to do everything for this club to win a trophy,” Hazard told BT Sport.

“In my mind I don’t know yet, I don’t think about that. I’m only thinking about winning something for this club and this squad. We played a great game but the semi-final is not so easy. We are happy and we will go to Baku to try to win the trophy.”

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Hazard’s teammates Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Willian hoped the Belgian would stay at the club. Chelsea will not be allowed to sign a replacement if Hazard leaves after FIFA upheld the one-year transfer ban earlier this week.

“I’m sure everyone here, and us players, would love him to stay and be a Chelsea player until he finishes his career,” Loftus-Cheek said.

“But who knows what he’s thinking. Over the last seven, eight years he’s been fantastic — the trophies he has helped us win. Whatever decision he makes we will respect it.”

Willian said: “He’s one of the best players in the world. For me I hope he stays, but in football you never know.

“I think his head is here, to play for Chelsea. Then after he’s finished the season maybe he can talk about his situation.”

With Chelsea playing away at Leicester City on the final day of the league season, the penalty could be Hazard’s last kick of a ball at Stamford Bridge but he knows there remains a big job to do in Azerbaijan.

“I always take my responsibility when I have to,” said Hazard, who has 19 goals this season.

“Today we are happy but it’s not finished. We have another game to play against Arsenal. We need to go there and play with quality and win the game.”

Giroud looking forward to special derby in Baku

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud said it will be special to face his former side Arsenal in the Europa League final, but added that there will be no room for sentiment on the pitch when the two London clubs clash in Baku.

Chelsea needed extra time and a 4-3 penalty shootout against Eintracht Frankfurt to progress from their semi-final on Thursday, while Arsenal comfortably beat Valencia 7-3 on aggregate.

Giroud, who spent more than five seasons at the Emirates, joined Chelsea in January 2018 and has since made two appearances against his former side, but has failed to earn a start or a goal in either game.

The 32-year-old is hoping that it will be third-time lucky when the two sides meet in the final on May 29.

“It is true I receive a nice welcome when I play there. As a player you need to deal with these kinds of moments,” the French World Cup winner said. “It will be special for me but I will put it to the side and forget who I play against.”

The striker scored 105 goals for Arsenal in all competitions and has found the net 10 times in this season’s Europa League for Chelsea, making him the competition’s joint top scorer. However, he failed to add to his tally in either semi-final leg against Frankfurt.

“It was not my best game (against Frankfurt) but I always try and give everything to the team. I will work the same in training as usual to show the coach I am still ready,” he said.

Giroud, who is out of contract at the end of June, has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge and said he was not yet sure about his future. He does have a one-year extension clause in his contract should Chelsea wish to keep him.

The Europa League final is a chance for Giroud to claim a second piece of silverware at the club. The Blues finished runners-up to Manchester City in the League Cup in February but Giroud was part of the side that won the FA Cup last season under former boss Antonio Conte.

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“I am 32 now and I am still hungry about trophies. We want to make history, I want to win my second trophy at Chelsea, we have a very good squad and we deserve to win something,” he added.