John Obi Mikel has praised former Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard’s talent, while calling into question his work ethic.
Nigeria international Mikel, who played 11 seasons at Chelsea, including five alongside the Belgian, said that he had never played with anyone of Hazard’s natural ability, and said that current Blues boss Frank Lampard was the hardest working player he’d come across.
He could not say the same for Hazard, who quit west London for Real Madrid this summer.
“Hazard has an incredible talent,” Mikel told beIN Sports in Turkey . “Maybe not as good as [Lionel] Messi, but he can do whatever he wants with the ball at his feet.
“He didn’t like to train hard. While we were working he was waiting for us to finish training just standing there. But on Sundays he was always man of the match, it was unbelievable.”
When asked who the hardest working player he’s played alongside was he said “Frank Lampard,” with no hesitation whatsoever.
Hazard’s move to Spain has not gone entirely to plan. He has missed time through injury and not had a tremendous impact when he has been on the pitch, scoring just once in 11 games for the club.
Arsene Wenger is just one person to suggest that Hazard’s slow start is down to poor conditioning.
“He became too heavy and what you read in the papers,” Wenger said earlier in November.
"If you want to make a horse lose a race, you put two kilos on a horse of 500kgs and it's enough."
Mikel now makes his living playing in Turkey for Trabzonspor and he believes one player he plays alongside there could be the equal of Messi.
Abdulkadir Omur is only 20, and has made just two league appearances this season, but Mikel sees an unlimited potential in the youngster.
"When I saw him in training, I said to myself, 'Maybe a Messi will not come to the world, but this child is very similar to Messi,” he added.
“I know Messi very well because he always had the duty of defending himself in the matches we played against Barcelona and Argentina. Abdulkadir creates a piece of Messi watching with every move he makes."