Chelsea forward Eden Hazard has revealed he requested to take the club’s No.10 shirt, which had been vacated by Juan Mata, because of the way he idolises France and Real Madrid icon Zinedine Zidane.
Hazard had worn the No.17 since signing for Chelsea from Lille two years ago in a deal worth £32 million, but an opportunity arose this summer for the Belgium international to grab the shirt in which he most fells comfortable.
Mata had worn the iconic number during his time at Stamford Bridge before moving to Old Trafford in what was a club record transfer for Manchester United, and Hazard quickly moved to ask if he could replace the Spaniard.
The reason behind Hazard’s approach to Jose Mourinho was his love of Zidane who, although a wearer of No.5 at the Santiago Bernabeu, was synonymous with No.10 given the way he fulfilled the ideals of this role.
Love for Zidane
“When Juan left the club I asked: “Can I take the No 10?” The manager said: “Yes, no problem”. But it’s just a number,” Hazard told the Daily Mail.
“If I play the same as last season, it’s not because I have the No 10. I have to do more.
“I wanted it because it was the number of my idol, Zidane, not when he was at Real Madrid (where he wore No 5) but before in the French League.”
“Maybe one day [I can emulate Zidane]; maybe one day.”
Hazard, meanwhile, will be in action for Chelsea when they face Leicester City on Saturday afternoon in their second outing of this fledgling Premier League campaign.
Chelsea impressed immensely during their opening victory over Burnley, during which it was summer acquisition Cesc Fabregas rather than Hazard who performed to distinction.