Chelsea need to keep Eden Hazard if they are serious about winning the Champions League again, teammate Thibaut Courtois has said.
Hazard scored both goals in the 2-1 win over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to preserve their seven-point lead over Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the Premier League.
Speculation about a summer move to Real Madrid has grown in recent weeks, with reports in Spain claiming Chelsea are open to discussing a potential deal.
But Courtois said the Premier League leaders could not afford to waver if they were to re-establish themselves as Champions League contenders.
“Eden is one of the best players in the world,” Courtois told the London Evening Standard.
“Chelsea have ambitions to win the Champions League again and always look to play for the title. If you want to do that, you need the biggest players — and he is obviously a big part of that.”
Asked how Hazard had dealt with the speculation, Courtois — who has also been linked with Madrid — added: “Eden is not affected by it. They are just rumours.
“He is calm. He knows that he is important to Chelsea, like I do.
“We are both very happy to be here. This was my 100th game for Chelsea, and I hope for many more.”
As well as all but eliminating City from the Premier League title race, Chelsea’s win also served to hold off rivals Tottenham, who came from a goal down to beat Swansea City in the final minutes.
“They would have hoped their evening was going to be lucky because they came back late,” Courtois said.
“If Manchester City had beaten us too they will have been very happy, so it’s good they went back into the dressing room and saw we were winning.”
And speaking to SFR Sport, he added: “We mustn’t think that we’re there yet. It’s a good win, but in three days we have another very difficult away match at Bournemouth.”
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