Soccer

In-form Eden Hazard commits future to Chelsea

PARIS (AP) — Eden Hazard has committed his future to Chelsea and sees it as the perfect club to help him fulfill his potential.

The Belgium winger is one of the English Premier League's best players, and his hat trick against Newcastle last weekend took his league tally to 12 goals. Contracted to Chelsea until 2017, he was linked with a potential move to Paris Saint-Germain during last month's transfer window, but has no intention of going anywhere.

"It's never been a question of me leaving Chelsea. I feel good in this club and I still have plenty of things to do," the 23-year-old Hazard said an interview on Tuesday with sports daily L'Equipe. "It's flattering to read that PSG are interested in me. But it doesn't bother me. I know very well what I want to do, where I'm headed. No one will change my mind. My objective is to be the best with Chelsea."

He is confident that playing "alongside seasoned pros like (Frank) Lampard, (John) Terry, (Peter) Cech, (Samuel) Eto'o" will help him to do that. "They've won so much. I draw inspiration from them every day, it helps me to grow," he said. "That's why I think my best years are still to come."

Hazard's eye-catching performance in the 1-0 win away to title rival Manchester City last week saw him widely praised. "I still have to work on my consistency and my efficiency, but I'm improving year by year," the former Lille player said. "I'm in the ascendancy, it's down to me to keep my feet on the ground and take things to the next level."

Under coach Jose Mourinho, Chelsea plays with one central striker, with Hazard cutting in from the wing to offer support. "I'm playing on the left flank. It's the position I prefer because it means I can cut inside on my right foot," said Hazard, who praised Mourinho's impact since re-joining the club this season after a difficult spell with Real Madrid.

"He's won trophies wherever he's gone. Those who still doubt him must stop, he's already proved that he's the best coach in the world," Hazard said. "I have a very straightforward relationship with him. He trusts us without constantly checking up on us. He likes to tease us and laugh to lighten the mood, to put us at ease."

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