Hazard: I would like to play for Mourinho again
Playmaker harbours hope of Real reunion with coach Belgian says he was partly to blame for manager’s exit
Jose Mourinho has received support from an unlikely source after Eden Hazard revealed he would love to play for the under-pressure Manchester United manager again.
While there is no chance of him moving to United, Hazard’s surprise claim may be of interest to Real Madrid, whom the Belgian is hoping to join next summer. Mourinho remains on good terms with Real president Florentino Perez and would be a candidate to replace Julen Lopetegui if both men lost their current jobs.
Despite a comeback victory over Newcastle United, Mourinho remains under pressure at United as he prepares for Saturday’s trip to Chelsea.
Spanish reports have claimed Lopetegui’s future could be decided by the Oct 28 game between Real and Barcelona, following a four-match run without a point or a goal.
Hazard has made it clear he would have no problem moving to Real if Mourinho returned to the Bernabeu for a second spell in charge, despite enduring the worst season of his career during the campaign in which the 55-year-old was sacked by Chelsea.
Hazard only scored four Premier League goals in the entire 2015-16 season and had not netted at all when Mourinho lost his job in December 2015.
In an interview with Belgian newspaper HLN, Hazard said: “The last season under Mourinho was not pleasant any more, we didn’t win, we got into a sort of routine, training, training without having fun, it was better for all parties the collaboration came to an end. But if I’m now asked one coach with whom I want to work again, then I say Mourinho.
“If you win, Mourinho is the best coach you can imagine. Then he is a friend of yours – you can do whatever you want. Want one day off, he gives you two. If everything goes well, Mourinho will experience football like me: with ease. Even his own image of an extremely defensive coach was not too bad. He is far from adventurous like [Pep] Guardiola, but the year in which we became champions, we have made many goals and played good games.
“I do not regret many things in my career, but that I have not been able to work with Mourinho at Chelsea any more [is one]. We had a team to get a lot of prizes, but we just ended up in a negative spiral.”
Hazard also admitted he was partly to blame for Mourinho’s downfall, adding: “I have had one bad year – the last six months under Mourinho – and it was partly my own fault. After the title, we had asked Mourinho for extra holidays. I was totally out of shape at the start of the season. I remembered that lesson this summer – four weeks after the World Cup, I was back in training at Chelsea.”
While he waits for a signal from Real that they will make a big push to sign him next summer, Hazard has promised to stop speaking about the European champions: “Let me put it this way: if I ever play for Real Madrid, I will be very happy, and if I will never play for Real, it is because it is not allowed. Then I’ll be happy at Chelsea.”