Antonio Conte has admitted that Chelsea's level of 'ambition' will be key in keeping hold of Eden Hazard, after the star playmaker's father claimed his son harbours an interest in joining Real Madrid.
Thierry Hazard declared on Friday that his son had refused to pen an extension at Stamford Bridge as it will enable the 26-year-old to follow up on any interest from Real Madrid, a club he can see himself joining in the future.
A report from the Daily Mail says the claims by Hazard's father have come as a surprise to those at Chelsea as the Belgium international's contract at the club does not expire until 2020, with no formal extension offer yet to be tabled despite talks having started in May.
Whilst Hazard is seemingly flirting with the idea of making a switch to the Spanish outfit, Conte was adamant that his star player can still be convinced that a long bout of success awaits the Blues.
He said: "
"I must be honest, I didn't read the comments from his father. I think, in the world, everyone has to respect the opinion of everyone else. In this case, I have to respect the opinion.
"But I think we are talking about a really good guy, and it's normal — I repeat — if you think that you stay in a great club with great ambition, it's right to stay.
When asked if Hazard still holds belief in Chelsea's project, Conte added: "
Hazard's importance to the Chelsea side grows week by week, but Conte insists the 26-year-old still has a lot of room for improvement, he added: "He could score more. If you see the stats, you understand that he can score more goals. That is an aspect he can improve.
"When you are a striker, or a No 10, your speciality must be to score. I think in this aspect he has a lot of space for improvement. But don't forget he's younger than Ronaldo and Messi."