Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte wants his two famous Belgians Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois to sign new contracts before they become global stars at the World Cup Russia 2018 .
Courtois will be into the final year of his deal after this season and is reluctant to sign an extension, while Hazard will have less than two years remaining
Eden Hazard scored twice in his sensational man-of-the-match performance as Newcastle were beaten 3-1 on Saturday. Keeper Thibaut Courtois will also be part of a formidable Belgium side that will take on England in Group G, and is looking to go all the way in Russia next summer.
Chelsea’s Belgian duo will present England with their greatest danger at the World Cup next summer but, by the time the tournament comes round, Courtois will have only one year left on his contract, Hazard two – and they will be ripe for picking by the world’s biggest clubs if they shine in Russia.
Talks on new deals for the pair have been mooted for some time but, after watching Hazard tear Newcastle apart with two goals at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, Conte wants things sorted out as soon as possible.
Both are vital for club and country, but have not yet put pen to paper on new deals that would end Spanish giants Real Madrid’s long-term interest in them.
Talks continue with Hazard over a £300,000-a-week extension to a contract which expires in 2020. And former Atletico Madrid loanee Courtois will enter the final 18 months of his deal in January – the same as boss Conte.
“Thibaut is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Maybe the best. And then there is Eden. The club knows the importance of these two players and they are happy to play for this club.
“I will be very happy when they can have this deal. These two are great players because they have a lot of space for improvement. They are very young and it will be great to keep them with us.
The two players are relaxed about their situations — they will either get paid loads at Stamford Bridge or leave and make even more elsewhere — but with Conte seeking further investment to challenge the Manchester giants, he said: “You are talking about two great players.
It is normal during the season to have the contact between the player – or the agent of the player – and the club. I hope that, at the end, Thibaut will sign his contract.
Real Madrid are long-term admirers of both Belgians and Conte has told the board to resolve their situations soon.
“I think these two players are very happy to play for this club.
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“And Eden to sign as well before the World Cup? For sure, I will be very happy when they can have this deal. But it is the responsibility of the club to try to do this. I can give my opinion about these two players. They are very young players and it will be great to keep them with us.” said Antonio Conte
“The World Cup is the best tournament in the world. You can show your skills and show that you are a top player.”
But Conte went to add his belief that Hazard has much room for improvement. “I don’t think that Eden is at the peak of his career,” said the Chelsea manager.
Bboth Hazard, 26, and Courtois, 25, still have “a lot of space for improvement”
“He has a lot of improvement to make. He is young and it is important for him to work, work, work to improve himself.
“You are at the top when you win the Ballon d’Or the first time, when you win the Champions League, when you win the Word Cup..
Conte explained: “I don’t think Eden is at the peak of his career.
“You are at the top when you win the Ballon d’Or the first time, when you win the Champions League or World Cup. At that moment, you are at the top of the world, so you are a great player.”