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Hazard will follow wherever I go – Courtois opens up on Chelsea future

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Chelsea goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois has declared that wherever he goes, his national and club teammate, Eden Hazard must be there with him.

Belgium defeated England 2-0 to seal a third-place at the Russia 2018 World Cup on Saturday.

Hazard had told reporters after the match that he was strongly considering his Chelsea future.

“After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different,” he told Belgian outlet HLN.

“Certainly after this World Cup. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision – if they want to let me go.

“You know my preferred destination.”

Hazard has always made clear his desire to play for Real Madrid and the Champions League winners are on the hunt for a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Courtois has also been heavily linked with a move to the Bernabeu, which would allow him to reunite with his two children in Spain.

And when asked about his own future, the 26-year-old said he wants to continue playing with Hazard.

Courtois told reporters, “Wherever I go, Hazard must come along. We will not let each other go.

“We’ll see. Now first vacation. And agree with my entourage in between.

The Chelsea No.1, however, made it clear that he could still stay at Stamford Bridge once he has spoken to new boss Maurizio Sarri.

He added, “Now I’m going to talk to my manager to see what the possibilities are.

“All options are open to me. Also stay at Chelsea, yes. People always complain that players do not comply with their contracts, but maybe I will.

“I do not think they will keep someone with my qualities on the bench, even if I do not sign. But maybe that’s possible because I like being in London.”

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Chelsea

Europa League: I hope to meet Napoli in final – Sarri

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Chelsea boss, Maurizio Sarri, has said he hopes to meet Napoli in the Europa League final.

Sarri stated this, after watching Chelsea storm into the quarter-finals, thanks to a 5-0 thrashing of Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine.

A hat-trick from Olivier Giroud, along with strikes from Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi, built on Chelsea’s 3-0 victory from the first leg at Stamford Bridge.

Napoli advanced 4-3 on aggregate against RB Salzburg, after falling to a 3-1 defeat in Austria.

“I prefer to find them in the final,” Chelsea’s head coach said when informed that Napoli had also qualified.

“It means we are in the final, that would make me happy and Napoli are in the final and that would make me happy.

“It would be difficult to play them with my history with the club.”

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Arsenal

Europa League: Chelsea, Arsenal qualify for quarter-final

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Chelsea and Arsenal will fly the Premier League’s flag in the Europa League quarter-final this season.

The Blues, who were all but assured of their place after a 3-0 win over Dynamo Kiev, won 5-0 in Ukraine.

Olivier Giroud scored a hat-trick, while Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi also got on the score sheet for Maurizio Sarri’s men.

Arsenal overcame a 3-1 deficit, to beat Rennes 3-0 at at the Emirates.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in each half and set up a goal for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

The draw for the last eight will be conducted Friday afternoon in Nyon, Switzerland.

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Chelsea

Chelsea’s squad to face Dynamo Kiev revealed

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Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri, has named a strong squad to face Dynamo Kiev, in the second leg of their Europa League round of 16 clash on Thursday.

Sarri has rested key players during trips to Greece (PAOK), Belarus (BATE), and Hungary (Vidi FC) in the group stages, as well as in the first knockout round against Malmo, when Marcos Alonso was dropped and Ruben Loftus-Cheek had to stay behind through injury.

However, he is not taking any chances this time around.

The only absence is a forced one, as Gonzalo Higuain has apparently been struck down by a fever.

“He had a fever after the league match for two days. Yesterday in the evening with the doctor we decided to leave him at home in order to recover him for the next match,” Sarri told reporters.

The rest of the 21-man traveling squad is as follows:

GOALKEEPERS: Arrizabalaga, Caballero, Bulka

DEFENDERS: Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Alonso, Emerson, Zappacosta, Ampadu

MIDFIELDERS: Jorginho, Kante, Barkley, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek

ATTACKERS: Hudson-Odoi, Hazard, Pedro, Willian, Giroud

With Chelsea holding a 3-0 first leg lead, surely just about any reasonable combination of these name should (“should”) be able to finish the job. Higuain’s absence probably not a big deal in any case since Giroud, who’s the team’s leading goalscorer in Europe this season with six goals, was going to start anyway.

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