Encouraging words

Given the number of websites devoted to news on English football, it’s not often these days that I read the local newspapers in Singapore to find out what’s going on at Chelsea.

However, there was a bit of an exception this week when one of the main dailies here managed to get an exclusive interview with no less than our Player of the Year, Eden Hazard.

An unusual development perhaps but maybe not all that surprising given the fact that the Blues will be visiting the Lion City for the very first time later this summer to meet Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in the International Champions Cup.

So what was the main gist of the article? Basically, the Belgian declaring that he was ‘very happy’ to be ‘at one of the best clubs in the world’ and that he was looking forward to playing in the Champions League and defending our Premier League title next season.

Nothing new, in other words, but it was still nice to read the words of the man himself re-affirming his commitment to the Blues and his intention to be around for some time to come.

Given his outstanding footballing talent and the wonderful form he was in during our triumphant Premier League campaign, it’s understandable that other clubs would covet the presence of a player like Hazard in their line-up. And almost without fail, with the opening of the summer transfer market, the rumour mill has started to churn out reports linking him with a move elsewhere.

However, Hazard himself feels that he can achieve his footballing ambitions at Stamford Bridge and expects our squad to be re-enforced for the challenges ahead in the next campaign.

‘We won the league and if we want to achieve more, we have to improve and work more,’ he said. And if we bring in some new players, why not?’

What I enjoyed reading most, however, was when the Belgian maestro spoke about his meeting recently with swimmer and ardent Chelsea fan Joseph Schooling.

Said Hazard of Singapore’s first-ever Olympic gold medallist: ‘He's a great guy and it was good to have a chance to talk to him. He did something good for Singapore and of course he supports the best club in the world.’

Words to melt the heart of any Chelsea fan.

And as much as we are looking forward to seeing him in action against Bayern and Inter at the National Stadium in late July, he sounds just as excited at the thought of visiting and playing in front of the fans in our fair city.

‘We are looking forward to this. Singapore is a great place. I can't wait to be there,’ he said.

‘We are always happy to see the fans and spend time with them. It's not every day that they can see the Chelsea squad.

‘This competition is for us to be ready for the season and also for the fans.’

With less than eight weeks to go to his arrival here with the rest of the Chelsea squad, I can hard wait.