Eden Hazard

Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle: Hazard’s hat trick sends Blues top (video)

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Chelsea brushed aside Newcastle 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, as Belgian superstar Eden Hazard bagged all three goals in a routine win.

Following slip ups for Arsenal and Manchester City, Chelsea now have a one point lead at the PL summit, as Hazard struck twice in the first half and then rounded off his first-ever hat trick for the Blues from the penalty spot after the break.

Chelsea were in cruise control for most of the match, as Newcastle rarely threatened going forward as they tried to stay compact.

But Hazard, who earlier this week spoke of his dream to score more goals to move into the same bracket as World Player’s of the year Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, tore Newcastle apart with his powerful runs from the flank as he proved too much to handle.

With the win Chelsea are top on 56 points, while Newcastle remain in eighth spot and have 37 points.

(MORE: Mourinho plays down Chelsea going top, how long will he keep doing this?)

A bright start from Chelsea saw Frank Lampard smash a free kick just wide of the post, but Newcastle were looking pretty solid as Hatem Ben Arfa was causing some problems with his box of tricks.

Chelsea bossed possession and Hazard tried his best to break down a stubborn Newcastle defense with several enterprising runs but the Magpies held firm in the opening stages in West London.

But in the 27th minute Chelsea broke the deadlock after Hazard played a wonderful one-two with Branislav Ivanoic and the Belgian winger swept the ball home for his 12th goal of the season. 1-0 to Chelsea.

Newcastle had a great chance to equalize just moments later as Moussa Sissoko went clean through but his touch let him down and Petr Cech saved. Then Hazard popped up to grab a second after playing another delicious one-two, this time with Samuel Eto’o, and the youngster bagged his and Chelsea’s second of the match in the 34th minute.

(Latest Premier League Standings)

After the break Chelsea had several good chances to make it 3-0, with the best coming after 57 minutes when Eto’o was found unmarked in the box but his shot was blocked by some heroic defending from Newcastle.

Moments later it was 3-0, and it was that man Hazard who bagged his third goal of the game from the penalty spot, as the winger now has 15 goals this season. The PK was given for a foul on Eto’o by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, as he pulled the Chelsea striker to the ground as corner came in.

Chelsea were on cruise control for the rest of the match and Hazard left the pitch as sub late on to rapturous applause from the home fans. This boy from Belgium is a bit special.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta; Matic, Lampard; Willian (Salah, 78), Oscar, Hazard (Schurrle, 85); Eto’o (Ba, 71)

Goals: Hazard (27, 34, 63)

Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy (Yanga-Mbiwa, 40), Williamson, S.Taylor, Dummett; Anita (Marveaux, 84), Santon; Ben Arfa (Gosling, 64), Sissoko, Sammy Ameobi; de Jong

Ex-Guatemalan soccer chief pleads guilty in FIFA bribe case

PRATO, ITALY - APRIL 13: General view during the FIFA Futsal playoff match between Italy and Hungary on April 13, 2016 in Prato, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) A former Guatemalan soccer federation president has pleaded guilty in New York to charges related to a sprawling corruption investigation of world soccer.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri ready for return, pursuing Chinese Super League ]

Brayan Jimenez pleaded guilty Friday to federal racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy charges, each carrying up to 20 years in prison. It’s unclear when he’ll be sentenced.

The 62-year-old Jimenez is among 40 people from around the world charged in a FIFA bribery scandal over lucrative broadcasting rights.

Prosecutors say Jimenez accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a Florida-based sports marketing company. They say in exchange for the money Jimenez awarded the company media marketing rights to the Guatemalan soccer team’s World Cup qualifying matches in 2018 and 2022.

Jimenez’s attorneys haven’t returned a message seeking comment on his guilty plea.

D.C. United acquires Igboananike from Fire in trade

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 06:  Andrea Pirlo #21 of the New York City FC looks to pass against Kennedy Igboananike #77 of the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on March 6, 2016 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The New York City FC defeated the Fire 4-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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With the playoffs still very much in sight, D.C. United is making another attempt to boost its struggling attack.

[ MORE: NYCFC, Rapids meet in Bronx on Saturday ]

After recently trading for New York City FC forward Patrick Mullins and New York Red Bulls midfielder Lloyd Sam, D.C. has completed a trade for Chicago Fire attacker Kennedy Igboananike in exchange for target allocation money and a third-round draft selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.

In over a season-and-a-half in MLS with the Fire, Igboananike notched 11 goals and four assists in 49 matches. The Nigerian forward is a Designated Player, and is due to make over $900,000, according to the MLS Players’ Union website.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

D.C United is currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, sitting on 20 points through 21 matches. The team is four points behind the New England Revolution for the final playoff position.

Report: Atletico set to offer $52 million for Chelsea’s Costa

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Diego Costa of Chelsea shoots past Thiago Silva of PSG to score a gol to level the scores at 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg match between Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain at Stamford Bridge on March 9, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Already with one of the world’s most dangerous attacks, Atletico Madrid is prepared to add another dimension into the mix.

[ MORE: Man City makes final bid for defender John Stones ]

Daily Mail is reporting that the Spanish side is prepared to offer Chelsea over $52 million for striker Diego Costa, who joined the team from Atletico back in 2014.

While the Blues have maintained their position that Costa isn’t for sale, Atletico looks to boost its already strong offense with the 27-year-old Spaniard. Diego Simeone’s group already features talented attacking duo Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres.

During his previous stint in La Liga, Costa netted 56 goals across all competitions in two seasons with the Rojiblancos.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

Chelsea is reportedly pursuing former striker Romelu Lukaku after signing Belgian Michy Batshuayi this summer. Antonio Conte’s side also features young forward Bertrand Traore, who has made a strong impression during the preseason.

Report: Manchester City makes final bid for John Stones

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16:  Diego Costa of Chelsea and John Stones of Everton compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on January 16, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Take it or leave it.

Manchester City has made a final push for Everton defender John Stones, and has set its last offer at $52 million. Last month, the Citizens made the same exact bid for the 22-year-old, which was rejected by Everton.

[ MORE: Italian legend Christian Vieri looks to join Chinese Super League ]

City is said to be looking to avoid overpaying for Stones, after compensating Porto over $55 million for centerback Eliaquim Mangala two years ago.

While Stones has gone on record saying that he wants to play for manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, it remains to be seen if Everton will part ways with its prized defender.