Maurizio Sarri confident star man Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea

Haard has been in fine form all year for both Belgium and the Blues. (AFP)
Updated 23 November 2018

Maurizio Sarri confident star man Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea

  • Brilliant Belgian long linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.
  • Chelsea coach Sarri is hopeful his star man will pen a new deal like N'Golo Kante.

LONDON: Maurizio Sarri said Friday that he is confident Eden Hazard will put pen to paper on a new deal with Chelsea after N’Golo Kante signed a five-year contract with the Blues.

Hazard’s deal with unbeaten Chelsea runs until June 2020 and speculation over his future at the club has intensified since his impressive displays for Belgium at the World Cup in Russia.

The Belgian has said he is in a quandary about whether to extend his deal or seek a “dream” move to Real Madrid, but Sarri is optimistic his star player will stay in London after Kante committed his future to Stamford Bridge until 2023 on Friday.

“I don’t know the evolution of the new contract. I think we can do (an extension),” said Sarri.

Asked if he was optimistic Hazard would commit to Chelsea, Sarri added: “I hope so.”

Sarri’s Chelsea, third in the Premier League on 28 points, take on fourth-placed Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday with their London rivals just a point behind them.

Despite Chelsea’s impressive run of eight wins and four draws from their opening 12 matches, Sarri says leaders City are the runaway favorites to win the title and Liverpool the only side likely to challenge them, leaving his side in a tough battle for the remaining Champions League places.

“At the moment in the Premier League there is a team above the others and this team is Manchester City,” said Sarri, whose side trail the champions by four points.

“Then there is a very good team, Liverpool. For sure Liverpool will be in the first four positions.

“Then there is four, five teams who will have to fight for the Champions League positions: Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, (Manchester) United and somebody else. Usually there is a surprise.”

In order to maintain their spot in the top four, Sarri says Chelsea need to be more aggressive from the start of matches, revealing his unhappiness with a “mental problem” in the past three games that has seen them drop points at home to Everton just before the international break and scrape past Crystal Palace the week before.

“The problem was that the opponents were more aggressive, more determined than us,” he said.

“It’s not a tactical problem, it’s not a physical problem. We have to approach the match in a different way, for application and determination.”


Turkey defends footballers saluting soldiers

Updated 11 min 55 sec ago

Turkey defends footballers saluting soldiers

  • Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu described the controversial goal celebration — in which players were seen as supporting Turkey’s military operation in Syria — as a nice salute
  • France drew 1-1 with Turkey in the Euro 2020 qualifier amid mounting tensions after Paris condemned Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish militants in Syria

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s sports minister voiced support on Tuesday for national team players who saluted the country’s soldiers during their Euro 2020 match with France.
Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu described the controversial goal celebration — in which players were seen as supporting Turkey’s current military operation in Syria — as a “nice salute.”
France drew 1-1 with Turkey in the Euro 2020 qualifier amid mounting tensions after Paris condemned Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish militants in Syria.
European football’s ruling body UEFA had already said it would “examine” a military salute given by Turkish players during an earlier match against Albania.
But the sports minister said the controversy was unwarranted, and pointed to the fact that French star Antoine Griezmann had also given a military salute to President Emmanuel Macron in June.
“Those who remained quiet about Griezmann’s military salute are trying to distort our national footballers’ nice salute,” Kasapoglu said in a televised press conference, holding up a picture of Griezmann’s salute.
He said critics were trying to distract from Turkey’s success in staying top of the qualifying group.
“Those who are trying to block out their failure on the pitch should give up on their efforts. The result is clear,” Kasapoglu said.
Kasapoglu also warned UEFA to be “prudent” in its investigation of the salutes.
Turkey’s operation against Kurdish militants in Syria, launched a week ago, has been widely criticized by the international community but has drawn widespread support at home.