Jose Mourinho believes Eden Hazard is the third best player in the world behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
However, the Chelsea manager also admits that the culture of English football means the Belgian is unlikely to tread a similar path to the top of world football.
Hazard has been the standout player in the Premier League this season, sealing the PFA Player of the Year award earlier this week as a result.
But his exploits for Chelsea are shadowed by that of Ronaldo and Messi, who once again have dominated La Liga with a glut of goals for Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
Mourinho thinks Hazard, 24, is now the third best player in the world behind the two stalwarts, but does not expect the Belgian to become the best player in the world once Ronaldo and Messi retire.
“It’s a 24-year-old boy, who plays in a club where there isn’t a culture of ‘best in the world’
A cultural campaign
He told The Sun: “After Cristiano and Messi, Hazard will be next. I don’t see anyone else.
“You can see the potential, the evolution and the way he’s been holding on to his profile as a person.
“The world still hasn’t reached him. He’s still a humble kid, a team player, nice and with a family life.
“But I also believe that, behind phenomenal players like Ronaldo or Messi, there’s something close to an organised campaign. And Hazard doesn’t have it.
“It’s a 24-year-old boy, who plays in a club where there isn’t a culture of ‘best in the world’.
“He plays in a country where it doesn’t exist. England has football concepts highly developed.
“Maybe it’s one of the few countries where clubs would rather win the league than the Champions League.
“Here, for instance, we believe it’s harder to be a forward. I mean, nobody works to be the best in the world.
“If he was in another country, they would grab him, put him next to Ronaldo and Messi, wait for them to be 33, 34 and 31, 32, and Hazard would be next.
“In this culture, I have my doubts.”
Does Eden Hazard have what it takes to win Ballon d'Or once Ronaldo and Messi are gone?
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