Most football followers would agree that Eden Hazard is one of the best players in the world, but according to the Chelsea winger himself, he is not.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots recently stated: ‘Eden can be one of the five best players in the world. He has everything he needs’.
However, it appears that the 23-year-old was unaware of the public praise he had received from his boss and told FIFA.com: ‘Seriously? He said that?’
Hazard went on to humbly say that he does not deserve the praise because he still has lots of room to improve and added the area which he thinks he should do more in.
‘To be thought of as one of the best five in the world, I would need to score more goals for a start’, the former Lille star said. ‘I would really need to score almost every game because that that is what the best players in the world - like Messi and Ronaldo - do every season. These are the guys everyone else has to aim for’.
It is indeed remarkably humble from Hazard to temper the hype over him. He was easily Chelsea’s best player last season and was their main creative outlet.
It becomes even more impressive when you consider that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is not someone who likes to play expansive, attacking football. On many occasions last season, the Blues deployed what is generally known as ‘park the bus’ approach.
Hazard’s stats (see below) do illustrate that he needs to score more goals, especially when you consider the number of goals Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi score regularly.
||Goals||Goal Assist||Big Chance Scored||Apps||Mins|
The Portugal international scored 31 goals and provided nine assists in 30 La Liga appearances and 17 goals and three assists in 11 Champions League matches.
Messi found the net 28 times in 31 La Liga matches, while making 11 assists, and added eight goals in seven Champions League matches. Even then, the Argentine’s 2013-14 campaign was said to be disappointing.
However, one needs to remember that Ronaldo and Messi essentially play as forwards for Madrid and Barcelona respectively, and both teams are attack-minded. Hazard starts on the wings and is allowed to cut inside and roam centrally, but he is not the man entrusted with scoring goals – the striker (Fernando Torres/Demba Ba/Samuel Eto’o) is. Moreover, Chelsea’s football last season was hardly the attacking type that the Spanish giants prefer.
It is still heartening to see that a 23-year-old Hazard has his feet on the ground and despite all the praise and reports of a big-money move to Paris Saint-Germain, he has retained his humility and understands that there is always something to improve upon.