Belgium captain Eden Hazard has revealed he grew up supporting World Cup semi-final opponents France.
The Chelsea star, 27, has scored two goals in four games to help fire the Red Devils into the last four for the first time since 1986.
Hazard moved to Lille aged 14, and both he and Belgium coach Thierry Henry will have divided loyalties when the teams line up in St Petersburg on Tuesday evening.
Henry won the World Cup with France in 1998, while it was that Les Bleus side which inspired Hazard when he was growing up in a French-speaking region of Belgium.
“With my brothers, we have always been more supporters of France than Belgium because we grew up with ‘98,” Hazard said.
“At the time, there wasn’t the jersey of Belgium, that’s why we wore the one of France.
“I do not want to denigrate the Belgium team of the time, there were very good players, but at that time, it was France.”
Meanwhile, Hazard fears Chelsea team-mate N’Golo Kante could prove the difference in Tuesday’s semi-final.
The two-time Premier League winner has impressed for Didier Deschamps’s side in Russia and Hazard believes France have a “95 percent chance of winning” if the midfielder is at full tilt.
He warned: “For me, he’s the best in the world at his job.
“If Kante is on top, you have 95 percent chance of winning.
“It’s up to us to do whatever it takes to stop him from picking up the ball.”
£35million Chelsea target in London ahead of completing Premier League move – report
Jean Michael Seri is in London and has not joined up with his Nice teammates for pre-season, according to France Football (h/t Metro).
The 26-year-old Ivorian has been linked with a move to Chelsea and reports suggest that he is in London, looking to complete a switch ahead of the Premier League season.
Seri has a release clause of £35million which expires on 15 July and he expects to seal a move away from the Ligue 1 club before that.
There are a number of other clubs interested in the Ivorian midfielder, with Arsenal, West Ham United, Fulham and even Tottenham keeping a tab on the Nice man.
Seri has just one more year left on his contract and with that in mind, clubs are trying to negotiate a fee lower than the £35million release clause.
We are yet to make a signing this season, with the Premier League campaign set to start in a month or so and with Antonio Conte still in charge of the Blues, things are not any clear about our managerial situation.
Seri would certainly add quality to the Chelsea midfield given that we have the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley in the side, with both players yet to make an impact at the club.
However, we cannot waste more time in trying to bring players in as our rivals have already made some big signings and we could already be behind in the race for a top-4 finish even before the season starts.