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Why Chelsea will enjoy being in the Europa League: Game time, silverware and a safety net

Maurizio Sarri feels Eden Hazard is the best player in Europe following his hat trick display against Cardiff City.

Chelsea's players and supporters will have undoubtedly witnessed the Champions League group stage get underway with more than a tinge of regret. The glamour, prestige and history of the competition surpasses any other in club football and missing out on it will be painful.

But while the Europa League might be the poor relation, there are three reasons why participation can have its benefits for Chelsea this season.

There will be vital game time for fringe players

Fixture congestion is usually one...

Transfer Rater: N'Golo Kante and Isco to Juventus; Nicolas Pepe to Man United

Things change in the blink of an eye in football. The Football Whispers Index takes the latest transfer rumours and gives them a score out of five; the higher the score, the more realistic and reliable the Whisper.

Here are today's top five emerging whispers. And keep an eye on Transfer Talk for all the latest gossip.

Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona

Ajax midfielder De Jong continues to be linked with a move to Barcelona, and according to Mundo Deportivo he remains a priority signing. The...

Eden Hazard thriving, scoring more goals in new wide forward role under Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri feels Eden Hazard is the best player in Europe following his hat trick display against Cardiff City.
Eden Hazard's second-ever hat trick for Chelsea helped lead his team to a comfortable 4-1 win over Cardiff, at Stamford Bridge.
Eden Hazard's second-ever hat trick for Chelsea helped lead his team to a comfortable 4-1 win over Cardiff, at Stamford Bridge.
Eden Hazard's second-ever hat trick for Chelsea helped lead his team to a comfortable 4-1 win over Cardiff, at Stamford Bridge.

Maurizio Sarri is not the first Chelsea head coach to challenge Eden Hazard to score more, but he is the first one to set the Belgian such an ambitious goal target. "I talked with Eden [on Friday] and I told him that for me he can score 40 goals," Sarri revealed after watching Hazard dismantle Cardiff City with a scintillating hat trick. "He has to improve something but he can do it."

Specifically, Sarri wants Hazard to expend less energy contributing to Chelsea's possession in the middle third...

ESPN FC  By ESPN

Eden Hazard tops Player Power Rankings; Cristiano Ronaldo breaks his duck

Alexis Nunes and Shaka Hislop delve into Maurizio Sarri's comment that Eden Hazard is the best European footballer.
Check out all the notable action from the weekend, including Cristiano Ronaldo's first Juventus goals, Barcelona's win at the Anoeta and more.

Who were the star performers from the weekend's action? We asked our global editorial desks to pick their top 10 and collated the results to produce our final list.

Also receiving votes: Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Ajax).

Let us know what you think of the countdown by commenting below or on Twitter using #ESPNFCrankings.

Chelsea's N'Golo Kante plays FIFA, has dinner with new friends after missing train

N'Golo Kante had an off day in the World Cup final, but Julien Laurens and the FC crew explain why he was pivotal to France's triumph in Russia.

As if it were possible to love him even more, stand by and wait for your admiration of N'Golo Kante to grow ten-fold.

The story goes that after playing a central role in Chelsea's 4-1 win over Cardiff City on Saturday, Kante was due to spend the rest of the weekend in Paris with his family.

Unfortunately, the France midfielder missed his Eurostar train and was therefore stranded in London as a result.

The devout Muslim used his mobile phone to search for a local mosque where he could partake in...

Eden Hazard 10/10 as Chelsea thrash Cardiff to remain perfect

Eden Hazard's second-ever hat trick for Chelsea helped lead his team to a comfortable 4-1 win over Cardiff, at Stamford Bridge.
Maurizio Sarri feels Eden Hazard is the best player in Europe following his hat trick display against Cardiff City.

Chelsea maintained their 100 percent record with a 4-1 win over Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge.

An entertaining encounter was helped by Cardiff refusing to park the bus and their positivity was rewarded with them taking the lead through Sol Bamba via a well-executed set-piece. That opening goal sparked the hosts into action, who forced Neil Etheridge into two good saves in the minutes that followed. Chelsea eventually levelled on 37 minutes when Eden Hazard;s crisp low drive slipped inside...