Irrespective of his poor season at Stamford Bridge, there’s little doubting that Eden Hazard is a world-class talent.
The Chelsea winger’s pace, control, dribbling and creativity have seen him emerge as one of Europe’s finest, so much so that the Blues face a battle to keep him from the likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain this summer.
Reports in February revealed that Hazard would find it hard to turn down a move to the Parc des Princes yet the Bernabeu might prove even harder to reject, given he regards Zinedine Zidane as football’s best ever player.
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The legendary midfielder, now manager of Los Blancos, was a magician during his playing days, with moments such as his phenomenal volley against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final epitomising his immense talent.
And it was the Frenchman’s ability to influence in the bigger games that Hazard particularly admired and now draws inspiration from.
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The Belgian told Chelsea’s official Facebook page, per Goal: “He’s the best ever. He was elegant when he played.
“He wasn’t quick but he could do everything with the ball.
“He scored a lot of important goals, like in the World Cup and the Champions League.”
It seems Zidane is just as big a fan of Hazard, with the 43-year-old hailing him as his third favourite player last November.
“I have no doubts he’ll be back,” said Zidane, referring to Hazard’s poor form at the beginning of the season.
“After Messi and Ronaldo, Hazard is my favourite player. It is spectacular to see him play.
“Do I see him going to Real Madrid? I love the player, that’s all I will say.”
The Belgium international’s future is in considerable doubt following a campaign that has seen Chelsea muster an abysmal defence of their title.
Hazard isn’t the only player to have underwhelmed and underperformed in west London, of course, but his meagre tally of three Premier League goals this season - all of which coming in his last two fixtures - and lack of influence have certainly held a damaging effect.
However, upon discussing his disappointing campaign, the Belgian hinted at staying.
“Last season was better,” he continued. “My job is to score goals, and when they’re important, it’s even better.
“I just want to score goals for Chelsea and win games for Chelsea.”
Hazard also revealed his pick for the club’s Player of the Season award.
“[Willian] scored some great goals and great free-kicks,” he added. "He’s played every game at the same level.
“He’s not had ups and downs, and he’s given everything for the team this season."