Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has sent a warning to his would-be markers – the harder you kick me the better I’ll play.
The Blues’ winger was clattered early on in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Arsenal by Shkodran Mustafi.
It was the sort of challenge which perhaps in times past would have sent the Belgian into retreat.
Instead, he later responded with a sumptuous goal of the season contender to keep Antonio Conte’s side bang on course for Premiership glory.
“It’s true, it’s my motivation,” (being kicked) he said. “When I get a lot of kicks I feel like I'm really in the game.
“When people don't touch me, it means I'm no good!”
“I'm not saying I like to be kicked, but it's good for me to be in the game.”
Saturday’s stunner saw Hazard shrug off Francis Coquelin’s best attempts to foul him and leave both Mustafi and Laurent Koscieny chasing shadows before beating former teammate Petr Czech.
He will let the others decide where it ranks in his pantheon of great goals, but was happy to have made the decisive impact on a massively important day in the title race.
“It's one of the best goals I’ve scored,” he added. “It's up to you and the fans to choose if it is the best.”
“I have scored with my left foot in the Europa League and there was a goal against Manchester United in the Cup, so I’ve scored a few good goals.
“But it is always good to score this kind of goal in a big game.”
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