Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has likened Chelsea winger Eden Hazard to Zinedine Zidane but has warned that he should not be compared to Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi as he aims to become one of the best players in the world.
Hazard’s form for Jose Mourinho’s side has seen him mentioned in the same breath as the Real Madrid and Barcelona superstars, with the 24-year-old playing a key role in the Blues’ march towards the Premier League title this season.
And while Hazard’s international manager has likened him to France legend Zidane, he has urged caution over getting too excited over the former Lille winger’s development, insisting he will take his own path.
He told Goal: “He is a big talent. When I see him, I see Zinedine Zidane. His development continuous. With his assists and goals, he is an important player for Chelsea.
“He is only 23 years old [sic], but has played for six years as a professional. We shouldn’t compare him with Ronaldo or Messi. He will go his own way, not the way of Ronaldo or Messi.
“Eden has the potential to become one of the five best players of the world. The good thing about him is that he makes no pressure at all, he handles everything quite relaxed. Especially Eden has no ego attacks, he is a team player, the team always comes first. For this, I respect him.”
Wilmots also discussed Thibaut Courtois progress at Chelsea and believes that he has proved his is almost on par with Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. He said: “I see him almost at the level of Manuel Neuer. Even at Atletico he was very good. He won titles and played a Champions League final.
“For me he is one of the three best goalkeepers in the world – with just 22 years. He has the tranquillity and excellent skills, plays for Chelsea – a top club. It could hardly be better.”