Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta believes star teammate Eden Hazard has the potential to win the Ballon d’Or in the future.
The Spain international also hinted that Hazard has the ability to reach the unprecedented levels set by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Hazard, who picked up the London Footballer of the Year award on Thursday night, has been in outstanding form this season, having scored 14 goals in 36 appearances for Chelsea - and Azpilicueta sees no reason why he can’t eventually land his hands on world football’s most prestigious individual award.
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“We are talking about two monsters of football today,” Azpilicueta told Marca of Messi and Ronaldo, according to the Daily Mail. “Eden is a great player, younger than them, and therefore has more capacity for improvement.
“I think in the future he could win the Ballon d'Or, he has the quality to it, but I see more focus on titles than achieving individual trophies. But yes, he has great quality and I think in the future we will see with the trophy in his hands.”
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Hazard: PFA Player of the Year award favourite
Hazard is currently the bookmakers’ favourite to win the Premier League’s PFA Player of the Year award and further enhanced his chances of securing the trophy for the first time by scoring the only goal in Chelsea’s 1-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday night.
That goal, in the grand scheme of things, could prove massive in the title race. Jose Mourinho’s side remain five points clear at the top of the table with 11 matches left to play, including a game in hand over second-placed Manchester City.
Should Chelsea go on to lift the Premier League trophy - as many expect they will - then Hazard should be a shoe-in for the Player of the Year award, although he would face competition from teammates Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and John Terry.
Sixth favourite to win 2015 Ballon d'Or
Hazard, at this early stage of 2015, is currently the sixth favourite to win the Ballon d’Or award next January.
Messi is currently the favourite - the Argentina captain is bidding to win the individual accolade for a record fifth time - while Ronaldo is very close behind as second favourite.
The third favourite - priced at a massive 18/1 with some bookies - is Messi’s Barcelona teammate Neymar, with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben in as fourth and fifth favourites, respectively.
Hazard’s odds would plummet if he not only helps Chelsea win the Premier League title, but also the Champions League, too.
The Blues face PSG in the second leg of their last-16 tie on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard will win Ballon d'Or - eventually
Because of his extraordinary talent and potential to become a global star of the game - like Messi and Ronaldo - it seems inevitable that Hazard will eventually win the Ballon d'Or.
But 2015 might be a little too early for arguably the best attacking player Belgian football has ever produced.
Will Hazard win the 2015 Ballon d’Or? Is he even good enough to win world football’s most prestigious individual award? Have your say in the comments below!