Cesc says "Hazard is our Messi," but how do the duo compare?

Cesc Fabregas believes Eden Hazard is the player who makes "the difference" for Chelsea, lauding the Belgian youngster as the Blues' answer to Lionel Messi.

Speaking to Radio Cope ahead of Spain’s European Championship qualifier with Slovakia, Fabregas said: "Hazard has that incredible ability to unsettle the opposition. He is the link between midfield and attack for us; he is our Messi because he makes the difference."

Hazard was in sensational form against Arsenal at the weekend, winning and scoring a penalty to set-up a comprehensive 2-0 victory. The youngster has continued the excellent form we witnessed last term, starring in Jose Mourinho's side's unbeaten start to the 2014/15 Premier League season. 

The 23-year-old has always aspired to be categorized in the same league as the world's greats and Fabregas' latest quotes are sure to fill him with pride, but how does he compare to Barcelona's superstar forward? Is he anywhere near the four-time Ballon d'Or winner's level?

  Goals/ appShot Acc (%)Assist/ appChances Created/ appAccurate Pass/ appPass Acc (%)Dribbles/ appAerial Won/ appAppsMins
Eden Hazard 0.29 71.00 0.14 2.14 42.57 91.41 5.14 0.71 7 595
Lionel Messi 0.86 57.00 0.86 3.57 46.14 83.00 3.57 0.57 7 630

Despite each player's fine start to the season, Lionel Messi is, by-far, the most prolific of the duo. The Argentine international has an impressive six goals and six assists in just five league matches, compared with two goals and one assist in four for Chelsea's Belgian playmaker. He has also fashioned the greater number of key passes.

Surprisingly however, Hazard completes considerably more dribbles per game, with his average of five take ons in each appearance reigning superior to Messi's 3.57. He has also recorded a far greater pass accuracy than the Barca star, completing close to 92% of his total attempts to find a teammate. 

Hazard is far from matching the achievements of Lionel Messi, but there are areas of his game in which he exceeds the Barca star. Nonetheless, in terms of reaching the Argentine's current level of performance, it's patently clear that he needs to score and create on a more regular basis.

This is a tough ask, though, especially considering the Belgian plies his trade in the Premier League. In England he's unlikely to ever reach Messi's level of proficiency. The quality of defending here simply doesn't allow for such colossal season goal tallies. 

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