Peter Crouch says Eden Hazard isn't far behind Messi and Ronaldo in terms of natural ability

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Eden Hazard showed in Chelsea’s 2-0 win against West Ham on Monday that he might be the most talented player in the Premier League.

The Belgian scored twice, the first a wonderful solo effort in which he beat five defenders, to tie his best return of 16 league goals in a season for the Blues.

With 12 assists to his name as well, nobody has contributed to more goals than Hazard in the top flight in 2018-19.

The unfortunate part for Chelsea is that Hazard looks set to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

The 28-year-old has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and according to the Telegraph, he’s ready to reject any contract offer from Chelsea in order to force a move.

Hazard can’t be blamed for turning down a club as big as Real Madrid; it’s a move that any player wanting to be recognised as one of the world’s best players would make.

In his career, the Belgium international has been mentioned in the group that ranks just beneath Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have been largely untouchable.

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'Hazard isn't far behind Messi and Ronaldo'

But maybe a move to Real will allow Hazard to put himself in contention to win a Ballon d’Or.

Indeed, Peter Crouch believes the Chelsea star isn’t far behind Messi and Ronaldo when it comes to natural talent.

Hazard is the focus of Crouch’s latest column and in his opinion, Chelsea’s No.10 should be in the conversation to win the PFA Player of the Year award.

“I watched Hazard dance his way around West Ham's defenders on Monday night and, once again, he had me out of my seat,” Crouch told the Daily Mail.

“It looks amazing on TV but, believe me, to do something like he did at Stamford Bridge gets even more appreciation from those within the game.

“The speed, the pace, the electric burst through tight spaces and the finish were just breathtaking.

“He is not as consistent as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of scoring goals but he really isn't far behind when it comes to natural ability.

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Hazard's goal contribution this season

  • Hazard in the Premier League: 28 goals (16 goals, 12 assists)
  • Messi in La Liga: 45 goals (33 goals, 12 assists)
  • Ronaldo in Serie A: 27 goals (19 goals, 8 assists)
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Crouch continued: “Hazard has been involved in 28 Premier League goals so far this season - 16 goals, 12 assists - which is the best tally by a distance in our division. Only Messi (45) and Kylian Mbappe (33) can better his total in Europe.

“We might see him on our TVs all the time but we shouldn't be immune to his brilliance.

“He should be in the conversation for the PFA award.

“I know some supporters who go to every game at Stamford Bridge and they say Hazard has been the only one who has given them enjoyment this season.

“Their concerns, then, are clear and understandable.”

The challenge of replacing Hazard might well be a near-impossible one.

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