After an impressive season so far for the Blues, Chelsea forward Eden Hazard has been backed to shine for Belgium at this years’ World Cup in Brazil.
The flying winger has been instrumental in propelling Chelsea to the summit of the Premier League; having scored 13 times and made 7 assists in 31 domestic and European appearances this campaign.
Belgian fans will be hoping that the 22-year-old can stay injury free between now and June and his former national mentor, Georges Leekens, has high hopes for his countryman predicting that he will rival the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo when he steps on to the world stage this summer.
“While with Lille, Hazard was the best player in France playing at 7—80% – now he is playing at 100%,” Leekens told the Standard. “Perhaps he was guilty of taking training too easily sometimes in the past, but he is working hard in training now and Jose Mourinho has raised the bar for him.”
Back in August last year, Mourinho challenged Hazard to embrace his defensive duties and apply himself throughout a full 90 minutes in a bid to move from “top talent” to “top player”. Hazard’s inventive attacks on the pitch and the effect that has had on rival defenders seems to have proved that the pressure has paid off in spades.
“The Chelsea manager has not only demanded Hazard scores more goals and produces more assists, but also that he works hard defensively and takes responsibility. He has responded and I think he has been accepted by the other Chelsea players,” added Leekens.
“The World Cup is the right moment to show himself. He will be excellent. His performances against the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool have shown he is ready for the biggest teams in the World Cup.
He has the talent to be considered on the same level as Ronaldo and Messi. After the World Cup, maybe people will stop comparing him to those players and appreciate him for the player he has become.”
Alongside Lukaku, Benteke and co, Hazard could help make Belgium a real threat in Brazil and the Rode Duivels can be backed at 16-1 to win the tournament with a football free bet.