Eden Hazard made a clean sweep of the post-season individual awards last year, while leading Chelsea to a Premier League and League Cup double, and generally being the cosmic force of goodness and fun that we've known all along he could be. Gone were any hints of conflict between him and Mourinho; gone were the silly lapses of concentration; gone was the inconsistency that we had sometimes seen in his first two seasons at Chelsea.
So, it's time for a Mourinho love letter to Eden Hazard. Of course, Mourinho's love letters aren't quite like our love letters.
"To repeat the awards, I believe he has got to get better, because the normal tendency is for people to find another star. People find somebody new to get these individual trophies. But he has all the conditions to improve. With his age he can improve."
But it's not just about awards. In fact, it's about the Champions League first and foremost. Considering that we walked the league last season, the early emphasis on Europe for this coming season is not surprising.
"I talk to all of them (the squad). Medical department too. I told them. You have to be better. Two years ago we reached the CL semi-final but he didn't play. He didn't play in Madrid, he played injured at home. So he arrived in that crucial moment not in condition."
"Last year we didn't do well and we were out immediately so he also needs a good Champions League. I'm not saying winning but I say a proper Champions League. But no matter, he is fantastic."
Ok, here's the actual love letter.
"He's getting stronger and stronger, not just in his body, but in his attitude. He's mentally tough. He's not the kind of boy who overreacts. After a bad tackle he never rolls and rolls like other players do. He doesn't try and push referees to make certain decisions. Eden is not this guy. He's loyal and honest, and gets lots of respect from opponents because of that."
"I would like more protection for him, but it's beyond my control. The only thing I can do is what I am doing and what Eden is doing, which is to work and work and work to be stronger and stronger. I don't want to change his mentality or personality. I don't want him crying or overreacting. I don't want someone to touch his shoulder and he reacts by throwing his hands in his face like some players do. I want Eden to be what he is - absolutely fantastic."
"Eden is coming with big status now and was voted one of the top ten players in Europe last year. In my opinion he should be in the top three not in the top ten. Let's see what is going to happen but we have these people. But let's say John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic are our captains and the others are ready to come."
"On the pitch Eden leads. He is not afraid to take responsibility. He is not afraid to get the team in a dark situation and bring blue sky again for the team."
-Jose Mourinho; source: Express
Eden Hazard, Mr. Blue Sky.
NB.: Branislav Ivanovic is apparently the vice-captain.