Cesc Fabregas has hailed Eden Hazard as “Chelsea’s Messi” in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Returning to England in June to join Chelsea after three indifferent seasons at Barcelona, Fabregas has since been outstanding form for Jose Mourinho’s side, recording a remarkable 20 assists in 30 total appearances.
However, the former Arsenal captain stresses that it’s not him who’s been the Premier League leaders’ most impactful contributor this season but Hazard, having likened the Belgian to former Barca teammate Lionel Messi.
“Hazard… awesome,” he said. “Physically they are even similar, with a very strong lower body.
“He is honest, he doesn’t go to ground, he always wants to play and he doesn’t hesitate.
“He has the quality to go far, but should be more ambitious in front of goal.”
Most expected Fabregas to return to Arsenal in the summer when it became clear he was set to leave Barca, with the Gunners even having first-option to re-sign him through a clause in his contract.
The presence of Mesut Ozil blocked that move, according to Arsene Wenger himself, but the Spain international believes he has found a place in Chelsea where he is just as comfortable as he's ever been in his career.
“I'm rediscovering myself in purely footballing,” he said. “I feel important, not like the master general, but almost.
“I play further back, and that makes me feel much more a participant in the game. I touch the ball 90 or 100 times a game and that is something I missed.
“In Barcelona my role was different. Here it is more positional; you expect the ball here and are afforded more freedom. I feel more part of the game and that allows me to enjoy it more.”
Fabregas became the first player in Premier League history to notch 15 assists in two separate seasons this month, and now looks set to smash Thierry Henry's all-time record of 20, which was set during the 2002-03 campaign.