Eden Hazard has given Chelsea hope he could be persuaded to sign a new contract by crediting Maurizio Sarri and the club’s new signings with his outstanding early season form.

The Belgium international has entered the final two years of his deal and denied reports a new contract will be announced next week. “I haven’t signed a contract,” he said after sealing Chelsea’s Carabao Cup win at Liverpool on Wednesday. “Not yet, not yet.”

Real Madrid remain likely suitors but the 27-year-old said this summer the calibre of Chelsea’s signings would influence his decision and he has highlighted their impact – and that of Sarri – on his form.

Hazard, who has scored six goals in seven games for Chelsea, said: “You see [what has changed] on the pitch. We have different players, players we didn’t have last season, players who like to have the ball. We have more possession than before. The attacking players benefit from that. We get more touches, more opportunities to create chances, to dribble more, more chances to shoot on target.

“Sarri is a manager who likes to have the ball. That makes a big difference. Besides that, he’s an Italian. Just like under [Antonio] Conte there’s a lot of tactics and we have to work hard in training. I don’t feel like saying that I didn’t have any freedom under my previous managers. Conte and [José] Mourinho also let me do what I wanted in the last third. That’s why I could excel under them too. Defensively I know what I have to do.”

Hazard also joked that Sarri, having improved Dries Mertens’ attacking play at Napoli, would make a successful manager of Belgium. “I don’t want to be disrespectful towards Roberto Martínez but maybe, when his spell at Belgium is over, we can start thinking about Sarri,” he said, laughing.

The Chelsea forward’s spectacular 85th-minute winner ended Liverpool’s flawless start to the season before the clubs meet again in the Premier League on Saturday. Hazard said: “It’s one of the most beautiful goals I have ever scored but I have already made a few nice ones. When I got the ball on the touchline I only thought about scoring that goal. I didn’t want to go to a shootout.”

Ross Barkley has claimed Hazard has the edge over Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and is the best player in the world on current form. “They are probably a lot more selfish than Eden is,” he said. “He is not a selfish player. He is happy getting two assists and the team winning. He is adding goals and he keeps improving. What he has done against Liverpool, honestly he’s doing it every day in training. It’s no surprise to us. At the minute, he is the best player in the world, I believe.”

Blogger/Football Analyst at Sportskick
Michael Okoye is an ardent football fan as well as a writer. He lives somewhere in West Africa with Lions and Leopards for company. He takes interest in football and detests mediocrity in sports writing. He has a massive man crush on Juan Mata. A Chelsea fan and a great lover of wits and sarcasm.
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