Hazard can be the new Zola

CHELSEA manager Roberto Di Matteo believes £32m summer signing Eden Hazard has the ability to become the inspirational Gianfranco Zola figure of his ambitious, modern side.

The European champions tonight welcome Reading to Stamford Bridge in what is likely to be Hazard’s second Premier League start and though conceding it is perhaps too early to judge, Di Matteo’s confidence in the Belgian is such that he feels him capable of earning parity with the popular Zola.

“Gianfranco was a wonderful talent – an artist, I would say, artist,” said Di Matteo, who featured in Chelsea and Italy teams influenced strongly by Zola. “Eden might become an artist as well. [But] after one game it’s probably a bit too early to say.”

Chelsea on Sunday won 2-0 away to Wigan in their first league match of the season, meaning that though Brazil midfielder Ramires has recovered from the illness that then ruled him out, Di Matteo is likely to use an unchanged side. German winger Marko Marin remains unavailable because of a hamstring injury.