Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has this evening revealed his opinion that Blues’ teammate Eden Hazard is second only to Lionel Messi on the list of the world’s finest footballers.
27-year-old attacker Hazard has begun to hit his stride over the last couple of weeks, following his superb showing at this summer’s World Cup with Belgium.
Hazard was left out of the starting lineup of new manager Maurizio Sarri for the Blues’ first two competitive fixtures of his reign, as Sarri eased his side’s talisman back into action following his international exploits.
However, the Belgian has since gone on to return to his scintillating best over the fortnight since.
Hazard first found the net in his first league start of the season versus Newcastle on the 26th of August.
And he was at it again a week later, scoring Chelsea’s second in his latest start versus Bournemouth.
The attack-minded system deployed by Maurizio Sarri looks set to provide the Lille youth product with the ideal platform to showcase his world-class talents, with many Chelsea fans expecting to see Hazard back to his mesmerizing best over the course of this season.
‘Messi, then Hazard’
And the superb start to the campaign being enjoyed by Hazard has come as no surprise to one of his Blues’ teammates.
The player in question is Antonio Rudiger, who has this evening been waxing lyrical about the Belgian’s talents.
Speaking in an interview with FourFourTwo,German stopper Rudiger revealed his opinion that only one player on the planet, in the form of Lionel Messi, can be considered as a superior talent to Hazard at this moment in time:
‘Mbappe is unbelievably fast, really good. To stop him, you have to do it as a team, because alone … good luck!’
‘But for me, the best in the world is Messi, then Hazard.’
‘Something I favoured’
Rudiger also opened up on life under new manager Maurizio Sarri, revealing his preference for the attacking stylings of the Italian tactician, compared to the more conservative approach of predecessor Antonio Conte:
‘I played for Roma in Italy, so I knew the way the manager liked to play and it was something I favoured. He wants us to press high, compared to last season when everyone knows we sat back.’
‘Now it is different. We create a lot of chances and, for me, that’s very good. Mostly, he likes the defenders to play the ball short and keep possession. I have shown so far I can do it but I want to improve every day.’
‘He is a coach who is not happy, he is always saying you can do better. And that keeps you alive.’