Chelsea winger Eden Hazard believes he is just as good as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were at his age.
The Belgium international, who turned 23 last month, has produced some dazzling displays this season.
With 12 goals from 25 Premier League games, Hazard has established himself as Chelsea’s key attacking player under the management of Jose Mourinho, who recently claimed that the attacking winger is the best player aged under 24 in world football.
Hazard has already stated his desire to reach the levels of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - the Barcelona and Real Madrid stars are widely considered the two best players in world football - and the Belgian believes he is on course to achieve that goal.
“Im much younger than them. They have won things that I haven’t,” he was quoted as saying by L’Equipe. “But I'm as good as they were at my age. If I want to be like them I need to win trophies.”
And Hazard is not concerned that a higher profile could lead to an increase in critics.
He added: “I don't care what other people think about me, frankly. Ronaldo and Messi, the two best players in the world, are loved and hated. That's the way it is.”
However, Hazard might want to note the fact that Messi won his first or four Ballon d’Or titles at the age of 22, while Ronaldo won his first Ballon d’Or in 2008, aged 23.
Still, if Hazard ends up leading Chelsea to glory in the Premier League and Champions League - and helps Belgium to a respectable finish at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil - Hazard could at least match Ronaldo by winning his first Ballon d’Or before his 24th birthday.