Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho believes that Eden Hazard is not far off of rivalling the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the battle to be the world’s best player.

The Barcelona and Real Madrid duo have long been thought of as the top two performers on the planet, scooping up all of the Ballon d’Or awards since 2008 between themselves.

Hazard has been in excellent form since the start of the festive period, and has spearheaded Chelsea’s challenge for the Premier League title with numerous match-winning performances.

The 23-year-old’s goal tally now stands at 11, and Mourinho feels that he is close to challenging the elite players for the top prizes in football.

“Now I say yes (he can reach that level). Because his evolution is great. I think, because of the positions Cristiano and Messi played, they are also top goalscorers,” Mourinho told The Mirror.

“It’s not just the quality of the players, but the number of goals they score that makes them even more special. Eden is a winger, a pure winger. Okay, we are giving him freedom to go to other areas, but he’s an attacking winger.

“I don’t think it’s possible for Eden to be top scorer in the league. That normally affects people’s judgement. But if he can be a match-winner, a player with high performances during a season… without injuries, Messi and Ronaldo start and finish strong, players with big stability in their performances.”

Hazard has been, arguably, English football’s top performer over the course of the last month, but will have to battle Luis Suarez to be crowned the Player of the Year domestically once the season ends, with the Liverpool ace having been in the form of his life.

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