Hazard can become a Chelsea legend – Zola

The Italian is hoping that the Belgian playmaker will stay at Stamford Bridge following the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League

Gianfranco Zola is hoping Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea next season on his way to becoming a Stamford Bridge legend.

Hazard has admirers at both Real Madrid and Paris-Saint Germain, but he spoke about how the club’s plans in the transfer market might affect his future ahead of the FA Cup final.

The 27-year-old has insisted that Champions League football is not a priority as he enters the last two years of his Chelsea contract, but he does want to see who the club sign for next season.

Zola enjoys watching Hazard play and hopes the Belgium international, who surpassed his tally of 101 goals scored and assisted for the club earlier this year, will continue to set new benchmarks in west London.

“It is a pleasure for whoever loves football to enjoy watching Hazard,” Zola told Goal, as he prepares for Chelsea Legends’ game against Inter Forever on Friday. “I am very glad that he plays for Chelsea.

“I am glad he improved on my records and I hope he is going to double them up, triple them up and it is good to see somebody who plays football so well.

“For him, it is good and it gives continuation to the club and supporters. I really wish so [that he can achieve my status]. I have been liked for a long time and people appreciated not only what I gave on the pitch, but the fact that I spent such a long time at this club. For Eden, I think it is going to be the same.

“There will come a moment for him where he gets a lot of commendation for this. You are always very happy when you see his commitment and passion for the club that you play for, so I am very, very happy about that.”

The legends game against Inter is being played in memory of Ray Wilkins, who passed away last month and sees a host of names, including Michael Ballack, Marcel Desailly, Javier Zanetti and Jurgen Klinsmann taking part.

Chelsea legends versus Inter Forever

Zola, who is regarded as one of Chelsea’s greatest ever players and spent seven years at the club, has not played at Stamford Bridge since his testimonial against Real Zaragoza and the 51-year-old admits he has been nervous about returning to play in front of his old crowd.

He said: “To be honest, at the beginning I was a little bit afraid, considering my physical condition of a few weeks ago but now I am a little bit better.

“To be honest, I am much more relaxed and I am ready. It was a long time ago, since I played at Stamford Bridge. My last game was my testimonial. It will be a fantastic day because I remember everything. The crowd and the emotion of playing in front of them.

“Honestly, the whole stadium and supporters have been outstanding to me. I feel like I have done my bit like many others. We try to make this club a better club. I did my part but there were also many others. To be fair, all of them enjoyed being part of this club and they played a part in making this club what it is now.”


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