Conte: No guarantee Hazard stays

Manager Antonio Conte says he cannot guarantee that inspirational forward Eden Hazard will be at Chelsea next season.

The 26-year-old Belgian has been in fine form this season, scoring 15 Premier League goals as Chelsea close in on the Premier League title.

But Hazard is reportedly a target for Real Madrid and Conte says that, while he thinks the player is happy at Stamford Bridge, he knows that things can change in football.

Asked if he could guarantee Hazard would be at Chelsea for the 2017/18 campaign, Conte replied: “I think that it’s impossible for me to take this responsibility.

“Not only for Eden, but for every single player.

“In this situation, the club has the final decision. I can tell my opinion about this situation, but the club has the final word about this situation. I think this is right.

“I don’t think that this idea [to sell Hazard] is in the mind of the club, because I think that we have to improve the team, reinforce the team.

“But you know that in football there is also the will of the player.

“I think also Eden is very happy to stay in Chelsea. I can tell this but I don’t have a crystal ball for the future. I think anything is possible in football. But not only for Eden, but for every single player.

“Everything is possible, because you must understand there are different wills to compare, and to take the decision.”

However, Chelsea will edge closer to a League title in Conte’s first season if they can win at Everton on Sunday, and the manager thinks Hazard would be content to remain and continue his ascent towards the top echelon of players in the world.

“I think Eden is very happy to stay with us, to work with us,” said Conte.

“I think his family is very happy to stay here and to play for this team, for this club.

“The fans love him and I think there are a lot of positive things that bring him to stay here and to try to reach the best with this club.

“Don’t forget that the target of this club is to try to win in every competition that you have to play.

“He’s a great player, he has great talent, but I think this season he has improved a lot, not only on the pitch but also I think that he’s becoming stronger mentally.

“And I think this level is very important, to try to have this next step, because this step brings you to the best players in the world. And I think that Eden is starting to take this step.”

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