Shortly after agreeing to sign for Chelsea, Eden Hazard expressed his delight at becoming the latest acquisition by the European champions.
The highly-coveted Belgian international, who becomes our second addition to the squad for next season following the German midfielder Marko Marin, will now go away on holiday before linking up with his new teammates when pre-season training gets underway in July, and he admits he cannot wait to get started.
‘It’s a dream come true for me,’ he tells the official Chelsea website. ‘I can’t wait to get started and for the season to start so I can meet my new teammates, the supporters and all the people who are involved.
‘I want to play as many games as possible, score as many goals as possible and win a place in the hearts of the supporters.
‘Ultimately, for a player it’s all about winning things; I want to win as many trophies as possible, which is another reason why I came here as Chelsea have been winning things for a long time now, and I hope to win many more during my time here.’
As one of the most talented young players in European football, it’s no secret that Hazard had a wealth of options when he decided to make the switch from Lille.
Players with the ability to win matches at the drop of a hat are always going to be sought after, and our supporters will take great heart from his decision to choose west London over other possible destinations.
The lure of Champions League football, coupled with our success in Munich, will certainly have caught the 21-year-old’s eye, and having had a brief taste of playing on the biggest stage last season with Lille, he is eager for more.
‘I watched the Champions League Final like everybody else,’ he says. ‘It puts a bit more pressure on the players who are already here but they’re used to it, and I think I’m pretty good at coping under pressure.
‘It’s true that initially there were a number of clubs in for me, but when Chelsea won the Champions League I thought why not? It was a complicated decision with lots of different factors involved, but the fact that they have great players and are European champions, also coming to London, I know people here already and there are a few French speakers, I think I have made the right decision.’
Having showcased his unquestionable abilities in Ligue 1 since 2005, winning all manner of awards along the way – both individual and collective – it was seemingly inevitable that Hazard would one day move to test himself on a bigger stage.
But while he admits to a seriously ambitious streak, it took the words of a former Stamford Bridge favourite to convince him of where his future lay.
‘People tend to talk about the French league as if it’s not of a high standard, but I disagree. I think it’s one of the best leagues in Europe, there are some very strong teams, particularly in defence, it’s always difficult to score goals,’ he admits.
‘The biggest differences will be in the stadiums and atmospheres, and the fact that overall, players will be technically better.
‘I spoke to Joe Cole and what he said above all was that Chelsea was the right club for me. As somebody who loves the club himself, he said he could really see me in the shirt, so when I see him next I’ll tell him he was right.’
With Belgium failing to qualify for the European Championships, Hazard now has a nice break to fully prepare for what promises to be an interesting debut season with the Blues.
With Champions League and FA Cup trophies to defend, as well as a disappointing domestic league campaign to bounce back from, we will need to hit the ground running, and Hazard himself is confident that everything is in place to ensure next season is another successful one for the club.
‘Chelsea had a great season even if we didn’t do very well in the league. By anybody’s standards, winning two cups is a great achievement, so it will be a big challenge to do better,’ he argues.
‘We’re equipped to do that, and all I can hope is that while I’m here we can win a lot of trophies, that’s what I’m aiming for.’