Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta conceded Eden Hazard’s departure will be “a big loss” following his heroics in the Europa League final.
In what was likely his final appearance, Hazard produced a man of the match performance to help Chelsea thrash Arsenal 4-1 in Wednesday’s Europa League final in Baku.
Following Olivier Giroud’s opener, Hazard then assisted Pedro to put Chelsea into a commanding two-goal advantage before getting on the scoresheet himself with a brace.
Upon lifting his sixth trophy in a Blues jersey in Baku, the Real Madrid target finally confirmed he will likely leave Stamford Bridge in the summer and hopes confirmation will arrive “in a couple of days”.
“It’s a big loss for us, as a player and as a person,” Azpilicueta told beIN Sports.
“We came here together seven years ago, we have won six trophies, it’s been amazing on and off the pitch for me.
“I can only wish him the best because he’s a very good friend of mine.
“The desire he’s shown on the pitch for the club, his behaviour as the star man, I think everybody in the club loves him.
“He’s not selfish – a lot of times I heard rumours about him leaving. In other situations, maybe other players could push but he didn’t do it. I can only say all the best and we’re going to miss him.”
The Spanish full-back did refuse, though, to state his opinion on whether Maurizio Sarri should remain as Chelsea manager.
Overall, the Italian coach has embarked on a solid first season in London with the club finishing third in the Premier League and winning the Europa League.
Therefore, Chelsea will be back in the Champions League next season after spending the last eight months in the Europa League.
Following Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus exit, however, Sarri has emerged as one of the reported favourites to take charge in Turin.
“It’s not my choice. Obviously, Maurizio is the manager,” said Azpilicueta on Sarri.
“We started the season quite late. In February, March we were in difficulty, we were sixth in the Premier League and everybody thought we were out of the Champions League.
“We came back, we finished third… lifted the Europa League [and] lost on penalties in the Carabao Cup [final]. I think if you look at the whole season it has been very great.”