Chelsea defender David Luiz said Callum Hudson-Odoi can fill the void a potential Eden Hazard departure could leave at Stamford Bridge, while praising manager Maurizio Sarri after the club’s Europa League triumph.
Chelsea stormed to a 4-1 success in Baku in the early hours of Thursday thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud, Pedro and a double from Hazard, who once again proved his worth to the club he has served for seven seasons.
Hazard’s double took him to 21 goals this season for Chelsea -- eight more than any team-mate in all competitions -- but they could be his last for the club, with a move to Real Madrid likely, something the player himself wants.
Chelsea look set to have a transfer ban imposed on them for next season, unless they can overturn the decision by FIFA, but Luiz believes 18-year-old Hudson-Odoi can step into Hazard’s place.
“Either Messi or Ronaldo,” Luiz joked when asked by reporters who could replace Hazard. “I think if he goes I just wish him all the best.
“He is a fantastic player, friend and guy. I’ve known him ever since he was here at so young. I am so happy for him because the world knows who Eden Hazard is.
“We have many (who could replace Hazard). Callum (Hudson-Odoi) is great.
“Callum has known this club since he was young and he has the talents to one day try to be like Eden.
“It is a new story for Callum. It didn’t start so well because of the injury but it is time for him to improve in other sides (of his game).”
A euphoric Luiz also took the opportunity’s to praise Chelsea’s often-criticised manager Sarri for his role in the Blues’ success on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
“That’s the problem of playing for a big club,” Luiz added.
“It’s his first season at Chelsea, his first in English football. I think he did great.
“He is a great person, a great guy, a great manager and we finished in the best way for him because we finished winning a trophy in his way.
“Even after we conceded a goal ... we continued to play his philosophy and continued to try and score more goals. It was the best end of the season for him and he deserved that.”