Eden Hazard used to lack maturity, claims Arsene Wenger

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims Chelsea winger Eden Hazard has found a level of maturity that he previously lacked before.

The Belgium international has enjoyed an excellent season and is the overwhelming favourite to win the 2014-15 PFA Player of the Year award, but Wenger hinted in his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning that Hazard has only recently become the world-class performer he is today thanks to his new-found maturity.

Hazard and his teammates go head-to-head with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon, as Chelsea bid to move a step closer to lifting the Premier League title for the first time since 2010.

"Everybody would agree that he's had a great season," Wenger told reporters. "He's found maturity that he didn't have before."

Hazard, 24, is considered by an ever-increasing number of people to be the third-best player in the world, behind Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi, at present.

Real Madrid's Zidane is a big fan

Real Madrid Castilla head coach Zinedine Zidane revealed earlier this week that he's a huge fan of the attacking winger, fuelling speculation that Los Blancos could make a move for the former Lille star in the future.

“I enjoy everything he does on the pitch," Zidane told FIFA. "I like the way he carries himself, that decisive streak in him and the fact that he’s improving every year. He can still get better too, and I think he’s a big reason why Chelsea are on top of the table.”

Hazard has no plans to quit Chelsea - yet

But despite Zidane's admiration, it's understood - thanks to a fresh report from the Telegraph - that Hazard has no plans to quit Stamford Bridge.

He only put pen-to-paper on a new five-and-a-half-year contract in February and feels happy and content playing for a team with serious ambitions of winning world football's biggest trophies.

Real Madrid will surely make a move for Hazard

But there's every chance that Real Madrid will step up their interest in Hazard, potentially as early as this season, if it's decided that Ronaldo will play upfront - as a conventional No. 9 - rather than on the left wing from the start of next season.

The Portuguese superstar, 30, is in a transitional stage as he approaches the latter stage of his professional career and could replace Karim Benzema as Real Madrid's first-choice centre-forward next season.

This would free up a space for a world-class left-sided winger - and there are few better footballers who play in that position than the exceptional Hazard, who has scored 18 goals in 45 appearances this season.

A three-pronged attack comprised of Hazard, Ronaldo and Gareth Bale would certainly give Barcelona's MSN - Messi, Suarez and Nemyar - a run for it's money.

Will Eden Hazard leave Chelsea for Real Madrid in the future? Have your say in the comments below!

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Premier League
Real Madrid
Arsene Wenger
Eden Hazard

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