Hazard: Mourinho the one manager I want to play for again

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Eden Hazard is taking Chelsea supporters on a rollercoaster ride this international break.

[ MORE: Monaco hires Henry ]

What began with the latest in a long line of public flirtations with Real Madrid led to a bit of relief when the Belgian admitted he wouldn’t be leaving Chelsea in January.

So how does the Premier League’s leading scorer follow it up? By praising Chelsea’s two-time former manager and saying he’d like to play for him again.

Hazard says he apologized to Jose Mourinho for a string of poor performances that helped get the Portuguese boss fired from his post at Stamford Bridge.

Before we go any further, this is not part of a hit piece where Hazard bashes Maurizio Sarri for only being unbeaten and not perfect at Chelsea.

From Sky Sports:

“I don’t regret many things in my career, but that I have not been able to work with Mourinho at Chelsea anymore is one of them. We had a team that could win more trophies. We just ended up in a negative cycle.

“I sent him a message to say I was sorry he had gone and that I was sorry. We’d enjoyed all that success together, but this time we hadn’t. I felt a little bit guilty because I’d been player of the year. I’d been one of the most decisive players, and then I performed less.”

Hazard later said Mourinho isn’t as “extremely defensive” of a manager as his critics describe, while quipping that he isn’t “as adventurous as Pep Guardiola.”

That, my friends, is understated.

He’s not heading to Manchester United, we think, though a Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial for Hazard and David Luiz swap would be hysterical (and tell the Alexis Sanchez for Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap it’s so last season).

Perhaps it’s more likely Mourinho and Florentino Perez reignite their love-hate relationship at Real Madrid, and the club makes Hazard its next Galactico.

It is interesting that some stars, most recently Hazard and his Belgian teammate Romelu Lukaku, have Mourinho’s back, and that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is being linked with another stint at Manchester United.

Maybe big personalities simply have more sympathy for other big personalities or maybe being outside the blender makes the smoothie look more fun.

Or perhaps there’s more appreciation for Mourinho as the pool of experience grows for these players. Either way, Hazard sure knows how to keep his name in the news (and we’re neither accusing him of being disingenuous nor dishonest).