Frank Lampard thinks Eden Hazard's form makes him the best player in the world at present but hopes his Derby County side are not forced to deal with the winger when the two teams meet in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
The former Blues midfielder returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time as a manager with the Championship side, who knocked out Manchester United in the last round.
Maurizio Sarri could be tempted to rest Hazard, who has already played 11 times this season but did sit out the wins over BATE Borisov and Burnley last week with a back problem.
And former England midfielder Lampard admits he would welcome the Belgium international missing the clash.
"On current form, I think he is," he told a news conference when asked if he thinks Hazard is the world's finest. "Of course, that can change, but I love watching him and he's in his prime.
"He is an absolutely outstanding player in world football. Let's hope he wants a rest! I think he's scared of coming up against my team!"
5 - Eden Hazard scored five @premierleague goals in September 2018; his best ever tally of goals in a single month of Premier League action. Class. pic.twitter.com/xuIKNtCc05 — OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) 12 October 2018
Chelsea's unbeaten start to the season has seen them emerge as contenders for the Premier League title, alongside champions Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, and Lampard has been impressed by Sarri's impact.
"They have been very impressive. Sarri is very impressive," he said. "We've worked hard here to change certain things, and I know how much work goes into it. He's done the same at Chelsea, and I see them in the mix of teams in with a shout of winning the title."
The Rams boss also spoke of his shock over the news regarding former England and Chelsea star Glenn Hoddle, who was hospitalised over the weekend after a heart attack.
"It was a huge shock," he said. "I grew up idolising him as a player. I've been fortunate enough to work with him in the media. His knowledge and willingness to give you help took me back.
"I love Glenn Hoddle as player and a man. Fingers crossed, he's getting a bit better. Let's hope he'll be fine."
And there was sympathy from Lampard to those affected by the helicopter crash at Leicester City's King Power Stadium on Saturday, which killed all five people on board, including club chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
"It's devastating news and myself and everyone at Derby pass on thoughts and condolences to everybody involved, and club as a whole," he said.
"[Leicester winning the league] was an incredible story and I've been reading comments from everyone speaking so highly of the man. We support Leicester, their fans and families involved. [It was] a very sad weekend."