Hazard has been one of the standout performers in the Premier League this season, winning plaudits from all corners for his creative skills.
However, he still has a limited match winning impact, and the reason Chelsea sit atop the league table is largely down to the goalscoring of Diego Costa and assist-making of Cesc Fabregas. Regardless, the 23-year-old winger still has six goals and three assists to his name, and his real style of play is focused upon getting the ball into the final third of the pitch, before playing it off to his teammates to assist or score.
His rise to prominence this season has coincided with comparisons to four-time Balon d’Or winning duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and many have suggested that the Belgian international will be winning the award himself in a few years. However, he is still far off reaching the heights of the La Liga-based forwards, and his national manager Marc Wilmots has outlined the area Hazard needs to work on to reach their level.
Quoted by the Standard, Wilmots told FIFA.com: “Eden is progressing at an excellent rate at the moment, and I hope he is ambitious to reach that level [of Ronaldo and Messi].
“He just needs to be more clinical and improve his finishing.
“He showed at Lille that he could score 20-odd goals a season, and that's where he needs to improve in order to help his team out at key moments.”
Considering Ronaldo has 25 goals in 14 games, and Messi has 15 in 16, Hazard’s tally of just six in 17 games is remarkably average. However, it is worth noting that Hazard has registered just two shots per game in the Premier League, whilst Ronaldo and Messi average 6.3 and 4.8 shots per game in La Liga. Using these numbers, Ronaldo is by far the most adept finisher, with a conversion rate of 28.4%. Hazard comes out bottom of the list with 17.6%, but he is only slightly worse than Messi, who has a rate of 19.5%.
Whilst this shines negatively on the Chelsea star, and suggests that Wilmots has highlighted the key area Hazard must improve, he has been used only as an out-and-out winger this season, whereas both Ronaldo and Messi have been utilised as forwards this term, as well as in wide positions. There is no denying that the 2014 Balon d’Or finalists are still the two best players in the world, but Hazard is not too far off closing in on their title, and he may be claiming the award as his own in the not too distant future.