HAZARD: ROMA REUNION

Eden Hazard could come up against his former coach when we face Roma in Washington DC on Saturday evening.

The Belgian played under Rudi Garcia (pictured below) at Lille until 2012 when he came to Stamford Bridge, while the Frenchman was appointed at the Stadio Olimpico club this summer.

‘We had four years together and won two trophies, the Ligue 1 and the Cup in the same season, the double,’ Hazard said, referring to the success they experienced in 2011.

‘He is a very good coach, still quite young and a very nice guy. He was very good for me because I was very young and he showed me the right way to be, and gave me lots of confidence in my ability.

‘It’s good for him to have another challenge at Roma, he did well with Lille and now wants to further his career at a big club. I think he is the first French trainer in Italy.’

Rudi Garcia

Nurturing Hazard’s immense talent is certainly one reason for Chelsea fans to appreciate Garcia’s work, and the 22-year-old playmaker is now looking forward to his second season in England following an excellent debut year and an exciting summer under Jose Mourinho this time around.

He completed the full 90 minutes against Real Madrid on Wednesday in Miami, and although he may not figure from the start tonight, is looking forward to the new season.

‘It is the last friendly, then we go to the national teams and the championship starts,’ he said. ‘It is a big game because we want to win and be ready for the next game. The result is not the most important thing but we want to continue to be better.

‘After I played the whole game against Real Madrid I was a bit tired, but it was great to play against them, against Inter and AC Milan, and now I am focused on the first game against a team that is new in the Premier League.’

We meet Hull on August 18 at the Bridge, with plenty of build-up still to come between now and then. You can watch tonight’s game live on Chelsea TV.

BERTRAND: STRONG FINISH

The Blues face Roma at Washington’s RFK Stadium tonight in the final game of our US trip, and Ryan Bertrand is confident we can finish on a positive note.

The first two matches Stateside saw us comfortably beat Inter Milan and AC Milan, running out 2-0 winners in both matches, with each performance catching the eye due to some wonderful attacking play.

We suffered our first defeat of pre-season, however, on Wednesday , when we were beaten 3-1 by Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid, although Bertrand insists the players are not reading too much into that particular result.

‘Obviously we want to win the game, we’re not thinking too much about the defeat to Real Madrid, it’s pre-season and it’s all part of the learning curve,’ he tells the official Chelsea website. ‘It’s better that we lose now than when the season starts, but we’re looking forward to rectifying that tonight.

‘Inter and AC are two good teams and we came through those games comfortably, so it’s just about tightening up a few nuts and bolts and making sure we progress.’

On a personal note, it’s been a good summer for Bertrand, with the left-back, who turned 24 earlier this week, heavily involved both in Asia and America.

With our opening game against Hull City little over a week away, Bertrand is competing for the left-back spot with Ashley Cole, and with two or more players vying for each position, he believes the team can reap the rewards.

‘It’s been a good pre-season for me and I’m pleased to have been involved as much as I have,’ he says. ‘Hopefully I can increase that playing time tonight which will put me in good stead for the start of the season.

‘It’s important to have competition for places and it brings the best out in the team. With any top-class side you need to have that in every position.’

Tonight’s match marks the end of our pre-season campaign, and while friendlies are essential in terms of preparing the players for competitive games, Bertrand is relishing the start of the 2013/14 season.

‘I’ve been waiting for the Premier League to start for a while because there’s nothing more satisfying than knowing you’ve got three points after winning a tough game,’ says Bertrand.

PIAZON HEADS TO VITESSE ON LOAN

Chelsea Football Club can confirm Lucas Piazon has today joined Vitesse Arnhem on loan until the end of the season.

Piazon played three times for our first-team last year, impressing in outings against Wolves, Manchester United and Aston Villa.

He joined Spanish side Malaga on loan for the second half of the campaign, where he featured 13 times in total, including twice in the Champions League as Manuel Pellegrini’s side reached the quarter-finals.

The Brazilian signed for Chelsea in 2011 and has featured regularly for the Under-21s while also figuring prominently in our FA Youth Cup success in 2012 and earning our Young Player of the Year award that summer.

In joining Vitesse in the Eredivisie, Piazon links up with fellow Chelsea youngsters Patrick van Aanholt and Gael Kakuta, and will be hoping to emulate last season’s fourth-placed finish in a side which also featured Tomas Kalas, who will this season be part of our first team setup.

You will be able to keep up with his progress in Holland here on the official Chelsea website.

ATTENTION TURNS TO ROMA

The players began to trickle out on to the training pitch at the Catholic University, our base since arriving in Washington last week, with John Terry, Marco van Ginkel and Andre Schurrle the first of the outfield players to emerge.

After five minutes of taking pot-shots at each other, with Terry and Branislav Ivanovic honing their technique by striking the ball off the top of a cone, it was down to business, as thoughts turned to Saturday’s friendly against Roma at the RFK Stadium.

Christophe Lollichon put the goalkeepers through their paces at the far end of the pitch, starting the session with an exercise designed to test their reflexes, before Petr Cech and Hilario took on Mark Schwarzer and Jamal Blackman in a game of racket-less badminton, where the players are forced to use their hands and a full-size goal acts as the net.

Both David Luiz and Juan Mata were back in training having missed the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid.

Shortly after, it was down to ball work, with the bigger group navigating a circuit, working on some one-touch passing and finishing by shooting towards a small-sized goal, before completing a similar exercise, albeit on a larger scale, and attempting to beat either Cech or Schwarzer.

What followed was a routine which saw the players go up against each other in small-sided games on a scaled-down pitch, with Fernando Torres scoring a brilliant goal and Hilario making a great stop to thwart Romelu Lukaku.

The session culminated with Rui Faria leading a warm-down exercise, with the focus largely on stretching.

AMARE'S IN LOVE WITH THE BLUES

Amar’e Stoudemire, the New York Knicks basketballer, was in Miami on Wednesday night to watch Chelsea in action against Real Madrid.

Stoudemire, a 6ft 11ins forward, is a six-time NBA All-Star, and visited Stamford Bridge earlier this year with a number of his team-mates while in London for the regular season league game played at the O2 against the Detroit Pistons, a game the Knicks won 102-87.

He was presented with a Chelsea shirt when we faced Southampton that evening, and was proudly wearing it as he watched us against Real Madrid at the Sun Life Stadium.

‘A buddy of mine who works for the New York Knicks sorted tickets for the game in London in January, so with the team being in Miami where I live in the off-season, I thought I should come and show my support so that’s why I was there,’ the 30-year-old explained. ‘Half the Knicks team went to that match, so they gave us the jerseys and some other memorabilia, but I want the new season’s jersey now!’

Amar'e Stoudemire in Miami

Assessing the scenes prior to kick-off in Florida, Stoudemire admitted he was hugely impressed with what he saw.

‘It’s a beautiful turnout. It’s nice to see every sport possible, and to be here watching two great clubs play is phenomenal. It’s great to see,’ he said.

‘I appreciate the work of these other sportsmen 100 per cent. Every time you see athletes and coaches trying to perfect their craft, as an athlete, it’s a beautiful thing to see and I like to show my support where I can.’

You can see Stoudemire speak to Chelsea TV back in January below…