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Hazard to Real Madrid? It’s not like other transfers, says Morata – football news

Eden Hazard might want to join Real Madrid but the Belgium star will not try to force through a move, according to Chelsea team-mate Alvaro Morata.

Hazard has made no secret of his desire to play for the LaLiga giants at some stage and said after Chelsea’s victory over Southampton on Sunday: “It is my dream since I was a kid.”

The forward’s stunning form this season – he tops the Premier League scoring charts with seven goals – has intensified speculation he could leave.

And with Hazard’s contract set to expire at the end of the 2019-20 campaign, Chelsea may have to cash in on their prized asset or risk losing him for nothing.

Hazard’s fellow Belgium international Thibaut Courtois joined Madrid in a cut-price deal in the previous transfer window having entered the last year of his contract at Stamford Bridge.

Morata is one player who knows all about the pull of the Santiago Bernabeu. 

The striker started his career in Madrid’s youth set-up and played for the first team either side of a successful spell with Juventus, before moving to Chelsea in 2017.

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And Morata is clear that Hazard will be happy to remain in London, rather than attempting to force the club to sell him.

“We’ve said that it’s not that he wants to leave Chelsea but if Madrid come in for him, that won’t be an obstacle,” former Madrid striker Morata said to Spanish broadcaster Cuatro.

“The thing is that he has a very good relationship with the club, he’s happy there and it’s not like other cases when a player wants to leave a club at any cost, but if it’s good for Chelsea they will keep that in mind.”

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‘Morata misses unbelievable chances’ – Giroud backed by Chelsea legend to provide Hazard support – football news

Alvaro Morata may find himself stuck behind Olivier Giroud in the Chelsea pecking order, says Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris, with the out-of-sorts Spanish striker missing “some unbelievable chances”.

The Blues invested heavily when bringing the former Real Madrid and Juventus forward to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2017, with a club-record fee required to secure his services.

Morata did deliver 15 goals during his debut campaign, but he struggled for consistency and has been unable to rediscover his spark this term after opting against cutting short his stay in west London.

Opportunities have come his way in 2018-19, but the 25-year-old has often fluffed his lines and now faces fierce competition from World Cup winner Giroud for the right to support Eden Hazard in Chelsea’s attacking unit.

Blues legend Harris told Love Sport Radio of that selection battle: “[Giroud] seems to link up better with Eden Hazard.

“The other lad Morata is desperate for goals. He’s had some good opportunities and missed them, and when sometimes when the luck is going with you, you can mishit a shot and it goes in.

“This fella seems to miss some unbelievable chances and I just feel he’s lacking in a bit of confidence at the moment. The one that seems to be thriving with Eden Hazard is Giroud.”

With Giroud, Hazard and Willian leading from the front, Chelsea have enjoyed a positive start to the new season.

A 0-0 draw with London rivals West Ham on Sunday brought a six-game winning streak to a close, but the club are moving in the right direction under Maurizio Sarri.

Maurizio Sarri Chelsea

“I think if Chelsea finish in the top four and make the Champions League, that would be quite a good season because you’ve got a new manager coming in,” said Harris.

“No disrespect but if you ask the club or the players if they would like to play in the Champions League or this Europa – and the same with the supporters – I’m sure they would plump for the Champions League.

“If they do manage that, that would be a good start for the manager.”

Sarri has been quick to play down Chelsea’s title credentials this season, with the Italian claiming that it will take at least a year for him to get fully adjusted.

Harris hopes the Italian will be given the time he needs to deliver sustained success, with a revolving door policy when it comes to managerial appointments having done the Blues few favours over recent years.

He said: “When you look at the track record over the last 10 years, they only seem to stay a couple of seasons and then they seem to fall out and leave.

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“It would be nice for Sarri to do a stint and win a few things for the club.

“I think that, without being disrespectful to him, a lot of the Chelsea supporters wouldn’t have known who Sarri was until he came here. So obviously he’s on trial as much as one or two of the players he’s brought in.

“He seems to have bought wisely at the moment and things seem to be going ever so well for him.”

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Unlucky Morata needs confidence to end goal drought, says Sarri – football news

Alvaro Morata’s problems in front of goal continued in the Europa League on Thursday but Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri was pleased with other aspects of the striker’s display.

Morata could have had a first-half hat-trick against PAOK in Group L but was wasteful throughout his 80 minutes on the pitch, his confidence draining away as his drought goes on.

The 25-year-old has not scored since the opening weekend of the Premier League season against Arsenal, and has lost his place to Olivier Giroud in recent weeks.

Sarri was able to find some positives from the striker’s display, but acknowledges he needs goals soon to help rebuild his confidence.

“Alvaro has to gain confidence with one, two three goals,” Sarri told his post-match media conference. “I am not able to give him confidence. 

“In this match he had three or four opportunities. He was unlucky. I hope for him in the future I can help him. But the confidence can come with goals.

“Maybe two goals in two matches, I don’t know. For the first time in this season he was ready in the box. He was on the ball and was active.”

Morata’s struggles were not the only frustration for Sarri, who felt Chelsea should have widened their advantage – the Blues having created 22 chances across the 90 minutes.

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“I think that we played very well. It was difficult for people to play against us this evening. I think we were so good,” he added. 

“I think we were in control of the match for 90 minutes.

“We had a lot of opportunities. I am very happy with the three points, but not the result. We didn’t kill the match.”

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Hazard can win Premier League Golden Boot, says Sarri – football news

Eden Hazard’s hat-trick on Saturday helped Chelsea defeat Cardiff 4-1 and earn top spot in the Premier League in the process, with the club boasting a perfect record of five wins in five matches.

Hazard’s manager Maurizio Sarri thinks that the Belgian star’s goal-scoring exploits can continue.

The 27-year-old is now the Premier League’s top scorer with five goals, and he has contributed either a goal or an assist in each of his last eight matches for club and country.

Chelsea will welcome the form of their talismanic forward, especially after the Blues scored fewer goals than all of their top-six rivals last season. Sarri is keen to unlock Hazard’s goal-scoring potential and see him win the golden boot, which would require him to more than double his best tally of 19 goals in a season.

“I think so,” Sarri replied when asked if Hazard is capable of being the league’s top scorer. “I have talked with Eden yesterday and I told him that for me he can score 40 goals. He has to improve something but he can do it. If you saw the game today, you have to say yes!”

Sarri is hoping to tweak Hazard’s game to see him focus more on working to find space and chances in the final third, rather than “wasting energy” by coming deep to receive the ball more often.

Next up for Chelsea is their first Europa League game against PAOK in Greece on Thursday. Sarri is looking to rotate heavily in the competition and confirmed that at least one of Hazard or Pedro will sit out the match in Thessaloniki.

“Hazard or Pedro will rest on Thursday,” Sarri said. “[Ruben] Loftus-Cheek has a little problem with the right tibia. You saw today he wasn’t able to play, but I hope he can recover in the next two or three days.

“Maybe it’s an opportunity I can give him a chance. I don’t know now because I want to have a very clear the picture of the situation, who are the players that need to rest or not.”

Cesc Fabregas could be in contention to return to action after more than a month out with injury, with Mateo Kovacic likely to be rested after being substituted with a dead leg against Cardiff.

The upcoming clash will also see Alvaro Morata return, after Sarri left him out in favour of Olivier Giroud for the first time this season. The World Cup-winning striker earned plaudits for his display on Saturday, after he provided the assists for Hazard’s first two goals.

Eden Hazard Chelsea goal celebration 2018-19

Hazard went on to describe him as ‘the best target man in the world’, but Sarri says he will rotate Giroud and Hazard depending on the weaknesses of his opponents.

“In the last two weeks I have seen four matches of Cardiff and four matches of PAOK Salonika and for me, yesterday I thought Giroud was more suitable for this match and Morata more suitable for the other,” Sarri said. “I don’t know now who will be the striker of the future.

“I think both, because we have to play 60 matches. For characteristics they are different, it depends on the kind of match. Today [Giroud] played very well without scoring, but very useful for his team-mates I think.”

Despite Sarri’s successful start to life in English football he has repeatedly denied that his side are title contenders, and he has cited Manchester City and Liverpool as the best two teams in the country.

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The Italian insists that while the end goal is to make Chelsea the best team in England, it could take as long as 18 months to achieve that target with defensive issues still remaining as he overhauls the club’s system to a pressing style.

Maurizio Sarri Chelsea Cardiff

“We are very dangerous in the offensive phase, but in the defensive phase we need to improve,” Sarri concluded. “We need to improve very quickly, but I think we can do it. Eight players arrived for training at the beginning of August, so I think it’s normal that in this period we have some defensive problems.

“We can cover our problems with quality in the offensive phase, but not in the defensive phase. I have to organise better the defensive phase and the players have to understand that.”

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