Hazard feels pressure as Belgium's star player

The Chelsea winger is aiming to make an impact at the World Cup and help his side reach the last 16, but has confessed to feeling the heat as the Diables Rouge's stand-out player
Eden Hazard has admitted he feels ‘huge pressure’ as Belgium’s star player at this year’s World Cup.

The 23-year-old has excelled since his €40 million [£32m] move to Chelsea two years ago but confessed that his price tag, and reputation, has placed a level of expectation on him to help guide Belgium out of their group.

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"It's great to carry the burden of a nation and on the other hand, it's huge pressure whenever you are on the pitch," he confessed to the Times of India when told he was his country's national hope.

"Belgian people are aware of my price tag and so I guess it is quite natural for them to pin their hopes on me. I am only 23 but I am exposed to plenty of top-level football to have a fair idea of what the World Cup will mean to me and my team.

"We have some exciting young talents who have the ability to turn a match on their own."

Hazard made an instant impression on his debut in the competition, setting up his side's winner in a 2-1 victory over Algeria, and the former Lille player admitted he now wants to help 'force the world' to focus on Belgium with a strong World Cup showing.

"It was a dream come true for me," he said of his debut. "This is the biggest of all tournaments. It's a time of celebration for football and for the participating nations.

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"We have qualified for the finals after a long gap of 12 years. That was a great excitement for all of us. Getting to Brazil was a dream for all of us.

"Now the dream is to play as well as possible and force the world to focus on us. Our first target is to qualify from the group. To do so we have to play really well.

"Once we get there, in the knockout [stages] no-one can predict anything. So, let's just concentrate on the job at hand."