Eden Hazard reveals which manager got the best out of him at Chelsea

Eden Hazard reveals which manager got the best out of him at Chelsea

Chelsea legend Eden Hazard has named Antonio Conte as the manager who got the best out of him during his career – but for an unconventional reason.

Hazard announced his retirement from football aged just 32 in October, deciding not to join a new club after the termination of his contract at Real Madrid. Prior to his unsuccessful spell in Madrid – a period that was mired by injuries – the Belgian was widely regarded as one of the best players in the Premier League during his time at Chelsea.

The wide forward spent seven thoroughly successful seasons at Stamford Bridge, winning two league titles and four other trophies with the club, as well as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award for the 2014/15 campaign.

Although his PFA-winning season was under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho, speaking to former Chelsea teammate John Obi Mikel on The Obi One Podcast, Hazard stated that he believed Antonio Conte was the manager who got the best performances out of him during his storied career – but only because the Italian’s harsh training regime made Hazard determined to enjoy the freedom that came on matchdays.

“I think my best time at Chelsea was with Antonio Conte,” revealed Hazard.

“All the week training. I was going out Saturday, I need to enjoy a little bit because I know the day after is going to be back on the training ground. I have to do something, it’s my only 90 minutes I can enjoy. 

“You remember him, stopping, tactics, ‘no we have to do that’. Saturday was the best day for me.”

The pair together / GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

Hazard also gave a surprising answer when asked who the best player ever played with was, name-dropping Ballon d’Or winners Karim Benzema and Luka Modric before exclaiming that forgotten Blues wonderkid Gael Kakuta was the most talented footballer he ever saw.

“In Real Madrid I play with the best player[s] in the world. For me [Luka] Modric, [Karim] Benzema, they are top top of the list,” Hazard explained.

“When you say Kevin De Bruyne, he’s top on the list, when you say [Frank] Lampard he’s top of the list, Juan Mata for me was top of the list.

“I’m gonna give you one name and John knows the player. The only one I was saying ‘wow’ was Gael Kakuta. You asked me talent. Kakuta by far number one. Talent. I mean, talent. Wow.”

Kakuta was on the books at Chelsea between 2009 and 2015, but played just six Premier League games for the club, spending the large bulk of his Blues career out on loan at the likes of Fulham and Dutch side Vitesse.


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