Belgium’s Eden Hazard. Pictures: REUTERS
Belgium’s Eden Hazard. Pictures: REUTERS

London — Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri wants to keep Belgian forward Eden Hazard at the Premier League club and improve him.

Hazard, part of the Belgium team who finished third at the World Cup, has been linked with European champions Real Madrid and hinted last week he would like to move to the Spanish capital.

"He is one of the top two or three European players, and I look forward to working with him," Sarri said on Wednesday.

"Hazard is a very high-level player. I hope that I will manage to improve him."

Sarri was named as coach on Saturday, 24 hours after Chelsea sacked his fellow Italian Antonio Conte after two years in charge during which he led the London club to the league title in 2017.

Chelsea start their preseason tour with a game against Perth Glory in Australia on Monday before travelling back to Europe to play Inter Milan, Arsenal and Olympique Lyonnais.

As FA Cup winners. they play champions Manchester City in the Community Shield before their first Premier League match against Huddersfield.