Thibaut Courtois: Eden Hazard can win Ballon d'Or

Thibaut Courtois has worked closely with Eden Hazard this season and says his Chelsea team-mate can win the Ballon d'Or.

Following impressive loan spells at Atletico Madrid, Thibaut Courtois - who has been speaking exclusively to Goal - returned to Chelsea last summer and took the first-choice role between the sticks from veteran Petr Cech.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper is among the best in the world and it was a no-brainer for Chelsea to sacrifice Cech for a younger equivalent that one day is likely to become superior.

Just one year into being first choice at Stamford Bridge and working with talisman Eden Hazard, the Belgian believes his fellow countryman is worthy of winning the prestigious Ballon d'Or.

In a season that Chelsea won the Premier League title and League Cup, Hazard scored 19 goals in all competitions. He was also named PFA and Football Writers' Player of the Year.

"He's [Hazard] a potential Golden Ball winner. We have to see what Messi and Ronaldo do, two players who are so good that sometimes I don't think they give a chance to other players," Courtois told Goal.

"They score so many goals that in this moment it is always one of them who will win the Ballon d’Or.

"But Eden has the capacity of winning it. This season he was decisive for us. Maybe he can be sometimes a little bit more, but we followed his lead to the title."

Can Hazard realistically win the Ballon d'Or?

There is no doubting that Eden Hazard is an incredible footballer and among the best in the world. For seven years, however, the Ballon d'Or has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, two players in a totally different league to anyone else.

Courtois is right that Hazard has the capacity of winning it, and at the 24-year-old is yet to reach his peak. Ronaldo is 30 years old and Messi is 27, so it depends on how long both can remain at the top. There is also Neymar to take into account, who is a year younger than the Chelsea winger, as he will intend to have plenty to say about where the Ballon d'Or goes next.

It's certainly a realistic ambition for Hazard to win the award, though. The sky is the limit for the Belgian star.

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch