Hazard twice told Sarri he was tired

Eden Hazard was excused from Chelsea’s Europa League trip to PAOK after twice telling Maurizio Sarri he was tired.

Hazard led Belgium to third place at the World Cup and has been in scintillating form for the Blues.

He scored a hat-trick last Saturday against Cardiff as Chelsea secured a fifth Premier League win from five games – before asking to be omitted from the trip to Greece.

Sarri said in Thessaloniki on Wednesday: “He told me after the national team (duty earlier this month) and the match against Cardiff he was a little bit tired, so I thought it was better to stay at Cobham, to have training and rest.”

Hazard received special dispensation to delay his return from his post-World Cup break until after the Community Shield on August 5.

He made substitute appearances in the first two Premier League games and has scored five goals in his subsequent three starts.