Chelsea’s failure to make the final of this season’s Champions League has brought a lot of pressure on Belgian winger, Eden Hazard, and his manager, fans and journalists alike have all had their say about what the future may hold for the former Lille forward.
Jose Mourinho recently came out and criticised Hazard, and many think this could spell the end of his Chelsea career. However, in the current football climate it would be a shock to see the 23-year-old leave Stamford Bridge, Mourinho can be outspoken, but he is too smart to let Hazard leave.
Hazard was interviewed by French station beIN Sport directly after Wednesday’s defeat, and the player was quoted saying that Chelsea were not set-up to play football, but played on the counter like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Mourinho was quick to turn the criticism back round on the player.
"When the comments come from a player like Eden it's normal because he's not the kind of player to sacrifice himself for the team," said Mourinho.
"Eden is the kind of player that is not so mentally ready to look back to his left-back and to leave his life for him. If you see the first goal of Atlético you completely understand where the mistake was and why we conceded that goal. The perfect team at the top level cannot make these kinds of mistakes."
The comments from Mourinho sparked rumours that Paris Saint-Germain will make a bid for the winger this summer, and that Chelsea may be interested in doing a deal that involves bringing Uruguayan striker, Edinson Cavani, to Stamford Bridge.
PSG have a number of targets this summer, and with the news that they have failed to adhere to the Financial Fair Play regulations this season and face a hefty fine, the chance of the Parisians spending over €100 million this summer are very unlikely. Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann are their main targets at the moment, and it makes a move for the Belgian unlikely.
Mourinho knows how important Hazard is to Chelsea’s success and it would a huge mistake if the Portuguese manager was to contemplate letting him leave London any time soon. Mourinho’s comments are surely aimed at getting a reaction from the Belgian, and guiding him towards becoming the complete player.
From growing up playing football in France it is not in a winger’s nature to track back and defend. Forwards in Ligue 1 do not chase down defenders with the ball and they usually do not help out with defensive duties; it is not deemed their role.
This is not to say Hazard cannot change, it just may take a little time. But he is in the right place to make this happened. Mourinho tried the same tactic with Joe Cole back in 2004, and he will be hoping that he can inspire Hazard to becoming one of the world’s best players.
Next season now becomes a huge crossroads in Eden Hazard’s career. He will continue his career at Chelsea, of that there is little doubt, but now it is up to the Belgian to decide what sort of player he wants to become. He will get a chance to prove Mourinho wrong, but he may not get more than one.