Chelsea have handed the number ten shirt, previously worn by Juan Mata, to in-demand attacking winger Eden Hazard - presumably in a bid to prevent French champions Paris Saint-Germain luring him away from Stamford Bridge this summer.
The 23-year-old expressed his delight to Chelsea’s official website after switching from 17 to 10 - and hopes to emulate his childhood idol, Zinedine Zidane, while wearing one of football’s most prestigious shirt numbers.
“I am very pleased to be able to wear the number 10 for Chelsea,” the Belgium international commented. “It is my favourite number and is one I am used to wearing for the national team, as well as the one worn by some of my heroes from when I was a kid, like Zinedine Zidane.
“I hope it brings me a lot of luck in the future and I look forward to the fans seeing me in it next season.”
Hazard was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award after a fine individual campaign, in which he scored 14 Premier League goals in 35 appearances. The former Lille superstar also picked up Chelsea’s Player of the Season accolade thanks to his eye-catching displays.
But his impressive performances haven’t gone unnoticed in the French capital, where PSG are desperate to secure the winger’s services. Reports suggest the Ligue 1 champions are lining up a huge £60m deal for the Belgian, whose teammate David Luiz has already secured a £48m to the oil-rich French outfit.
Jose Mourinho, however, will be desperate to keep hold of the club’s best player for the foreseeable future - and measures are evidently being taken to ensure he stays in west London.