Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard has jokingly revealed the real motivation behind his stunning solo match winner in the Carabao Cup third round against Liverpool this week, suggesting he scored it so that a nervous N'Golo Kante wouldn't have to take a penalty in a potential shootout.
With Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri opting to rotate his team for the cup tie, both Hazard and Kante started the game on the bench.
Speaking afterwards, the Belgian revealed that his shy colleague had told him while still watching from the sidelines that he wasn't keen on taking a penalty if the game couldn't be decided in 90 minutes. It seems that Hazard took it on himself to make sure that didn't happen.
Sarri turned to Hazard early in the second half with the game still level at 0-0. Daniel Sturridge actually gave Liverpool the lead just moments later, but Kante went on soon after, before fringe full-back Emerson Palmieri equalised for Chelsea with just over 10 minutes left.
Hazard then popped up with a mesmeric run and finish in the 85th minute to win the game and spare Kante a dreaded penalty shootout.
"I spoke with N'Golo on the bench and he told me he didn't want to take a penalty, so the only solution was to score," Hazard, who was named Man of the Match, told the Sky Sports cameras.
The ever humble Kante has endeared himself to football fans up and down the country ever since arriving at Leicester from Caen in the summer of 2015.
The Frenchman hit the headlines during the summer after seemingly being too shy to ask his international teammates to have a hold of the World Cup trophy, while he recently commanded positive press attention when he ended eating dinner, playing FIFA and watching Match of the Day with some Arsenal and Liverpool fans he met at a mosque in London.
Kante won PFA, FWA and Premier League Player of the Year awards in 2017, was named in the FIFPro World XI at the Best FIFA Football Awards earlier this week, and is one of the highest rated players on the new FIFA 19 game, released on Friday.