Santi Cazorla has backed Eden Hazard to match the achievements of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo after naming the Chelsea star as his favourite Premier League player.
Hazard has emerged as one of the world's top talents since making the move to Stamford Bridge in 2012. His impressive performances earned him the PFA Young Player of the Year award last season and he is hotly tipped to win the senior prize in years to come.
Although Chelsea have relied on Hazard less this year, instead utilising the talents of summer signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, the Belgian has still been an essential source of creativity for Jose Mourinho.
It is that creativity that has seen Hazard compared to the likes of Neymar, Messi and Ronaldo in recent months with some peers tipping him to match their achievements for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
Cazorla says Hazard is his favourite Premier League player, outside of Arsenal of course, describing the 24-year-old as 'spectacular'.
He told FourFourTwo: I’d start with [Eden] Hazard. He’s a spectacular player.
"He’s different to the norm and I think if he wants to, he could get very close to the level of Neymar, Cristiano and Messi.
"If he stays consistent and is ambitious he has the technical qualities to be one of the best players in the game.
While Arsenal fans may not like to hear it, Cazorla's praise of his rival is more than justified. Luckily, he talked up the ability of players at his own club in the same interview to even things out.
"Laurent Koscielny for me is a great defender and there are very few players like him in the world"
When asked if he believed any of the Gunners' current stars were in a world-class bracket, Cazorla quickly came back with three names.
He said: "Well we have many really good players. But, of course, the most recent example is Alexis Sanchez. His performances at Arsenal have been really first class. I knew of him from when he was at Barcelona and he’s a player who’s going to be very important for Arsenal.
"Mesut Ozil is another footballer whose qualities are recognisable to everybody in the world from his time at Real Madrid. He’s a spectacular player.
"Looking elsewhere, Laurent Koscielny for me is a great defender and there are very few players like him in the world. Of course I could give you more but I think these three are good examples.
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