• World Cup

Hazard told to put Belgium first

ESPN staff
June 17, 2014
Eden Hazard will be making his debut at the World Cup for Belgium © Getty Images

Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard has been told he must put his country first if he is to become one of the best players in the world.

Hazard is set to make his debut at the World Cup as Belgium begin their campaign on Tuesday against Algeria in Group H - but he has been told by manager Marc Wilmots to become a team player rather than think about himself if he wants to succeed.

"Edin can be one of the best five players in the world," Wilmots said. "He has everything he needs, it's now up to him to release the handbrakes and go.

"He's 23 and has already shown what he can do. But he won't be able to do it alone. Everyone, including him, has to sacrifice himself for the collective. I have replaced I, I , I with we, we, we."

A spotlight will be on Hazard in Brazil after rave reviews in the Premier League last season but Belgium captain Vincent Kompany insists the team will not rely on him in the country's first appearance at the World Cup in 12 years.

"We can score a lot of goals but we don't need to sit here and think one of our strikers is going to make the difference on his own or the manager said it before, Hazard," the Manchester City defender Kompany said.

"There are so many players in our team that are good at going forward. Ultimately I consider our success will be down to how we behave as a team and just that."

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