Eden Hazard has been in magnificent form since the turn of the year - and has recently found himself subbed the best young player in the world and he himself has stated he is looking toward reaching the heady standards set by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
But players like this don’t just appear from nowhere - they must have heroes that guide them.
Today, we were lucky enough to discover who Hazard’s most inspiring role models in the game were as he came through the ranks.
He spoke to the Chelsea Newsletter this week and revealed his top five players - in ascending order as follows:
It is no surprise to see that four of the five mentioned could be described as attacking midfielders - playing a similar role the young Belgian does at Chelsea.
With that in mind you can see elements of each player in his style of play. Riquelme’s often petulant but always competitive mental attitude, Robinho’s ambidexterity and balance, Ronaldinho’s penchant for the effortlessly ridiculous and Zinedine Zidane’s driving dribbling.
The one who doesn’t fit in in terms of position is an Arsenal legend.
Thierry Henry is a striker, as we all know, but you can still see elements of the Frenchman’s game in the way Hazard plays for The Blues.
In this modern day and age, with the 4-2-3-1 now the weapon of choice for many of the world’s best teams, Henry would likely play similar to Hazard - from the left coming into his more dangerous right-foot.
For Hazard he must try to emulate the better end of this quintet of inspiration. He must press on and continue to improve to gain the legendary status of Ronaldinho, Henry and Zidane - and not the mercurial tag that has followed Riquelme and Robinho for most of their topsy-turvy careers.
image: © Ben Sutherland