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‘Hazard shares Messi’s beauty of football’ – Cole puts Chelsea star in Barcelona talisman’s talent bracket

1:33 PM IST 27/05/19
Eden Hazard, Lionel Messi split
A former Blues playmaker is a big fan of a man currently filling that role and believes the Belgian stands shoulder to shoulder with all-time greats

Eden Hazard boasts the same “beauty of football” as Barcelona icon Lionel Messi, says Joe Cole, with the Belgian forward “the most talented player to play for Chelsea”.

There are few talents in world football that are worth the entry fee alone in order to catch a glimpse of them in action.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi certainly fits into that category, with the mercurial Argentine considered by many to be the best to have ever played the game.

Hazard is another with the ability to entertain and excite, with former Chelsea playmaker Cole seeing similarities between the 28-year-old and those considered to form part of the global elite.

The ex-Blues star told The Sun: “There’s not many players in the world I’d pay to watch. Probably two - and that’s Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard.

“Eden mesmerises you with what he can do with the ball.

“When he or Messi plays you just see the beauty of football.

“Sometimes with other greats you see the strain. Some people like the idea of that but with those two they make it seem easy. Footballers first, athletes second.

“If I was down to my last few pounds and I had to pay to take my kids to watch a player it would be Messi and Hazard.

“I remember at Lille’s training ground seeing Hazard score the best goal I’ve ever seen. He might not even remember but I do.

“I think the manager had left him out for a game for some reason. We played an 11-a-side and it was the first time I’ve ever seen Eden play angry.

“He picked up the ball from the full-back position, drove past three or four players and hit a shot similar to Ronaldo’s one against Porto which just arrowed in.

“There aren’t many moments in your career where a goal stops training and everyone just applauds. Still, to this day it’s the best goal I can recall.

“Anyway, he was back in the team for the next game.”

It could be that Hazard’s skill set gets just one more outing for Chelsea.

He is currently preparing for a Europa League final date with Arsenal on Wednesday, but reports continue to suggest that he will soon be on his way to Real Madrid.

Hazard is about to enter the final year of his contract, leading to those at Stamford Bridge being backed into a corner, but Cole claims a talismanic figure has already cemented a place among the all-time greats.

He added: “If it is to be his last game his name will stand alongside the likes of Peter Osgood, Gianfranco Zola, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, John Terry. He stands shoulder to shoulder with them.

“I stand by my claim he is the most talented player to play for Chelsea.”