Eden Hazard leaves Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo off his list of Ballon d'Or candidates

Eden Hazard has been in sensational form for Chelsea this season.

The debate over the Ballon d'Or is beginning to heat up as France Football officially named their candidates earlier this week.

The award for the best player in Europe has been completely dominated by two players over the last decade: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Since Ronaldo won it in 2008, the two have switched it back and forth, with both now sitting on five awards each.

That's an incredible achievement considering the previous record was just three, held jointly by Johann Cruyff, Michel Platini, and Marco van Basten.

But given the significance of a World Cup year, 2018 might finally be when we see a changing of the guard.

Neither Ronaldo or Messi were able to stamp their authority in Russia last summer and that will naturally harm their chances - despite Ronaldo leading Real Madrid to the Champions League and Messi dominating domestic football in Spain.

One of the players who some feel has a chance of winning it this year is Chelsea's Eden Hazard.

The Belgian has started the Premier League season on fire after leading his country to third place at the World Cup.

Eden Hazard was speaking to reporters on Thursday.

Hazard was asked about his chances ahead of Belgium's game with Switzerland on Friday but the 27-year-old believes another star is ahead of him. 

“I do not think it will be me, I believe Luka Modric deserves it,” he said.

Outside of Modric, who has already won the World Cup Golden Ball, UEFA's Best Player award, and FIFA's The Best award, Hazard admitted he was a contender alongside one other.

“There are three or four players who have had elite years, you could say that Raphael Varane deserves it because he has won the two most important trophies, nobody else did," said Hazard.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d'Or five times.

“I would not be lying by saying that I have a case for winning the award too but I seriously believe that Modric will win it.

“It would be a deserving reward for his wonderful season in the Champions League and in the World Cup, where he was magnificent.”

If Hazard is right, the Ronaldo/Messi duopoly is about to finally be broken.

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