Cazorla: Hazard could rival Messi and Ronaldo

Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla believes Eden Hazard could rival world stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo "if he stays consistent".

The 29-year-old is the latest to hail the Belgian’s talent after a 2013/14 campaign which saw Hazard scoop the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

Personal accolades are not uncommon for Hazard, who in his last four years at Lille picked up two UNFP Player of the Year awards and two UNFP Young Player of the Year awards, before moving to Champion League winners Chelsea for £32 million.

Since signing for the Blues in 2012, the 23-year-old has found the net 27 times in 82 league games, while also reaching 50 caps for Belgium.

His playing style has been compared by many to those of Messi and Ronaldo, with Hazard capable of rapid acceleration from a static position, the ability to take men on and possessing a surprising amount of strength for a small man.

For Cazorla, such comparisons are natural and he believes Hazard can go all the way to the top, telling FourFourTwo in an exclusive interview:

"Hazard is a spectacular player. He’s different to the norm and I think, if he wants to, he could get very close to the level of Neymar, Cristiano and Messi.

"If he stays consistent and is ambitious he has the technical qualities to be one of the best players in the game.”

However, the Spaniard was also quick to recognise his own team-mates, especially new signing Alexis Sanchez who is currently third in the league scoring charts.

"We have many really good players. But, of course, the most recent example is Alexis Sanchez. His performances at Arsenal have been really first class.

"I knew of him from when he was at Barcelona and he’s a player who’s going to be very important for Arsenal.

"Mesut Ozil is another footballer whose qualities are recognisable to everybody in the world from his time at Real Madrid. He’s a spectacular player.

"Laurent Koscielny for me is a great defender and there are very few players like him in the world.”

FFT100 Read the full interview with Santi Cazorla here and find out where the Arsenal attacker places in FFT’s Best 100 Players in the World