LONDON - Eden Hazard can still become the best footballer in the world even if he stays at Chelsea, Blues manager Maurizio Sarri said Friday. Hazard has made no secret either of his desire to win the Ballon d'Or, the annual prize for the best player in the game, or wanting to play for Real Madrid.
The 27-year-old Belgian playmaker has though insisted it would "not be a problem" for him to finish his career with Chelsea if a move to Real was not forthcoming. Meanwhile Sarri said Hazard could realise his individual ambitions while remaining at Stamford Bridge.
"He's a fantastic player," Italian boss Sarri said. "And so it will be very important for us if he will remain with us. Very, very important. I think also he can win everything, also the Ballon d'Or, here, without playing in Spain.
"Because, for example, if Chelsea were able to win the Champions League, Belgium won the European Championships, he would be able to win everything, without playing in Spain."
Hazard's current Chelsea contract expires in June 2020 and for all his talk of wanting to play for Spanish giants Real, there has been no dip in his form for the Blues this season. Since returning from a World Cup where he helped Belgium finish in third place, Hazard has scored seven goals in six Premier League starts and two substitute appearances.
"I can finish with Chelsea," Hazard told Sky Sports ahead of Saturday's match with Manchester United. "No problem at all. I am very happy with this club, with the team, my family is happy here.
"So If I don't go to Spain, it is not a problem. I love the fans -- I think the fans love me. What happens in the future, I will be happy, so that's it." Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille in June 2012 and signed his current deal in February 2015.
If no contract extension is agreed by the end of this season, Chelsea could see Hazard leaving on a free transfer at the end of the following campaign, so an agreed move could yet be in the interest of the club as well as the player.