It’s not fair compare Hazard to Messi and Ronaldo, insists Mourinho
Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea's Eden Hazard should not yet be compared to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Jose Mourinho insists that Eden Hazard is not yet ready to be compared to the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Belgium international has earned plenty of new admirers thanks to his impressive form for Chelsea this term under the Portuguese manager.
The 23-year-old took his Premier League tally to 12 goals for the season following his hat-trick in a sparkling display as Chelsea ran out 3-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday.
We just need to let him play and have a natural evolution
Hazard has been tipped as a potential candidate to end Messi and Ronaldo’s dominance of the Ballon d’Or award in the seasons to come.
However, Mourinho moved to play down the expectations surrounding the playmaker, insisting that he must be given the time and space to “evolve” his game.
“I feel that we shouldn’t mix generations,” said Mourinho. “Ronaldo is 29 and Messi a bit younger but they are both players with 10 years of football and lots of success, titles and awards. A kid with an amazing talent but in the beginning of his career is another thing.
“I don’t think it’s fair for Ronaldo and Messi to be compared other players. But I also don’t think it’s fair for a young player to be compared [with them].
“We just need to let him play and have a natural evolution, and certainly Ronaldo and Messi will have people to succeed them. Eden will be waiting for them to become older.”
Mourinho was, however, full of praise for the attitude Hazard has displayed since he took the reigns at Stamford Bridge for a second time last summer.
“I keep saying, off the pitch, he’s a tremendous young guy, a very special guy,” he continued. “He’s young and such a family boy, without the things which normally this generation likes to do outside the job. He’s completely stabilised.
“On the pitch, he’s what you see. You can see the difference between the talent player that he was always since he arrived in this country.
“He’s made the jump between a talented player and a player who has other things. He’s stronger physically, he’s more strong mentally, he tries to win and accepts the responsibility in terms of the attacking organisation [of the team].
“He’s a better player. I don’t want to speak too much and repeat myself – but the reality is that he is improving a lot and is still a young player.”