Sochi: Brazil’s World Cup quarterfinal against Belgium will pit two of Chelsea’s best midfielders and good friends against each other. However, Brazil’s Willian told reporters here Thursday, he will be doing everything he can to send his team mate Eden Hazard home early from Russia.
Willian, who counts Hazard as a friend at the cosmopolitan Stamford Bridge, said there will be ‘no mercy’. They regularly exchange gifts on birthdays and celebrate occasions like Christmas together.
“Hazard is one of the best in the world, but now we’re on opposite sides,” Willian said. “This is the first time I will have played against him in my five or six years at Chelsea. I am friends with him at the club but he is on his side and I am on mine, and I hope I can get the better of him. I will be doing everything possible to win, but we will continue to be friends.”
I am friends with Hazard at the club. But now we are playing for our country. I will try and send him home quickly, but we will continue to be friends
Willian will face another Chelsea teammate in goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and he is aware of the quality throughout the Belgian team.
“We have lots of respect for our rival. We know how much quality Belgium have got,” Willian pointed out. “But we have to maintain our same way of playing, getting better every game, and that is what we will take into this match.”
Willian said that victory over Japan and adversity will have boosted Belgium’s confidence but that he was sure his own team are favourites to move on to the semifinals.
“We know what we have to do,” he said at Brazil’s base in Sochi. “We are going to continue studying them to try and neutralise them and hit them at their weak points.”