Eden Hazard: This is why I wear number 10 at Chelsea

Chelsea star Eden Hazard requested the number 10 shirt previously worn by Juan Mata.

Chelsea’s recent list of number 10s include former playmakers Joe Cole, Yossi Benayoun and Manchester United star Juan Mata – and now Eden Hazard.

Spanish international Mata opted to join Premier League rivals Manchester United last January for £37.1 million, and his vacant Chelsea number 10 shirt was taken by Belgian winger Hazard this summer.

The 23-year-old used to wear the number 17, and his decision to swap it for number 10 – the number normally associated with a central playmaker – may have raised a few eyebrows around the club.

“I wanted it because my idol was a No 10 – Zidane – when he was in the French league,” Hazard is quoted as saying by The Mirror. “Am I better than him? No. Maybe one day. When I was young, I played the No.10 role. But now I am a left winger or a right winger.

"I think now football is finished with the number 10 role. You have to play with two wingers and one striker. And I have to do more.”

Despite not playing centrally like Zinedine Zidane, the former Lille star proved to be the Blues’ biggest attacking threat last season as he flourished under boss Jose Mourinho.

  TeamPosGoalsTotal Att AssistAccurate CrossWon ContestBall RecoveryAppsMins
Eden Hazard Chelsea FW 14 92 11 132 160 35 2,895

In 35 Premier League appearances, Hazard scored 14 goals and created a total of 92 chances for his teammates – just shy of three a game.

His best attribute, though, was his excellent ball control and the ease in which he brushes past his opponents, demonstrated by the 132 successful dribbles completed over the course of the campaign.

Many at Stamford Bridge will be hoping of more of the same this season, and perhaps the added pressure of living up to the reputation of a famous number 10 will help spur him on to even better things.

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