• Premier League

'Mourinho is always in my face'

ESPN staff
March 6, 2014
Zidane: Hazard will inspire next generation

Eden Hazard believes he can surpass Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to become the best player in the world but says he needs to be twice as good as he is now.

Hazard has been in great form for Chelsea this season - scoring 14 goals in the process - leaving manager Jose Mourinho describing the Belgian forward as "the best young player in the world".

Opinions remain divided over who is the better out of Ronaldo and Messi but 23-year-old Hazard is determined reach their level and is confident his manager's aggressive approach will help.

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If Mourinho takes a clear view, he might change his tune about Chelsea's prospects © Getty Images
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"It was nice of [Mourinho] to say that, but the important thing is that I'm always testing myself and always challenging myself to do better," he said.

"It is also good that Mourinho is always in my face, telling me what he thinks, whether it is good or bad. That really keeps you on your toes as a player and is good for my progression.

"I would like to be considered the best in the world, but there is a gap at the moment. What do I have to do to close it? Score goals, go past players, pass the ball. Basically the same as now, only two times better.

"I have to excel at the highest level week-in week-out, but I cannot claim to be doing that yet. I think I have proved myself in the Premier League, but I have to do the same in the Champions League.

"That is the ultimate stage to judge yourself on. I have to show what I can do at that level, against the best around."

Hazard played 28 minutes for Belgium in their 2-2 draw with Ivory Coast on Wednesday - his 40th appearance for club and country this season.

He added: "Our national coach [Marc Wilmots] understands that the volume of matches we have had at Chelsea might be weighing down on me and that I might benefit from a breather, but I'm actually feeling in good shape.

"I had some great spells at Lille, where my confidence was really high, and I'm feeling that way at Chelsea now. I just need to strive for consistency.

"I had a bad first half at Fulham last Saturday and just couldn't get going. Then suddenly in the second half, I was moving and doing the right things without even thinking. I need to do that more often and over 90 minutes.

"The Champions League is a goal for us as well as the Premier League, so it could be a hectic and demanding build-up to the World Cup. But it would mean so much to do well in Brazil and I'm sure I will be ready."

Hazard, meanwhile, has been quick to alleviate fears that he will miss Chelsea's Premier League clash with rivals Tottenham on Saturday.

Hazard picked up a knock when he came on in Wednesday's friendly when he was clattered by Newcastle midfielder Chieck Tiote.

"It hurt, but I think I can play this weekend," he told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. "After 20 seconds I got a kick. A nice welcome, but I'm not worried about the injury."

Wilmots added: "His boot was damaged, but Eden hasn't twisted his ankle."

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