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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Eden Hazard better than Cristiano Ronaldo last season - Jose Mourinho

Eden Hazard had a better season last year than Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

Ronaldo has long cemented his place among the top two players in the world alongside Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

But despite scoring 61 goals in all competitions last season for Real Madrid, Los Blancos failed to win any major trophies, and Mourinho said that fact drops his fellow Portuguese to the world's No. 3.

"I think so," Mourinho told The Guardian. "I don't like players or managers to win individual trophies without the team."

Asked if his own player Hazard, who scored 19 times for the Premier League-winning Blues, had therefore supplanted Ronaldo behind Messi last season, Mourinho agreed.

"Last season, yes. In spite of the fact that Ronaldo was fantastic. He was fantastic," Mourinho said.

"He scored an incredible number of goals. I am not saying he is not fantastic. I am just saying that, in my personal view, every football player in the world should understand that a team has to be in front and no titles [are important]."

Hazard or Ronaldo may be debatable, but to Mourinho there's no doubt that Messi remains No. 1.

He added: "Football without titles is nothing. Messi won the treble. He won three competitions last year, he reached the Copa America final. He had a fantastic season for him and for his team."

Eden Hazard, centre, is approaching the same level as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, says Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho also sung the praises of Hazard, who he called a leader on the pitch, even at just 24 years old.

"He is not afraid to take responsibility," Mourinho said. "He is not afraid to get the team from a dark situation and bring blue sky again for the team. He is not afraid of this.

"He is a guy with great discipline. He is not the kind of guy you see setting bad examples and so on. So I think he can [lead].

"His ambition is coming, he is also the vice-captain of the Belgian national team. He has four seasons at Chelsea, so he didn't arrive yesterday.

"I think he is in this group. Eden, [Cesc] Fabregas, [Gary] Cahill are in this group behind the captains."

And Mourinho said Hazard will only get better as he gets older -- as long as Chelsea keep winning trophies.

"To repeat these trophies, I believe he has go to better, because the normal tendency is for people to find another star; to find somebody new to get these individual trophies," Mourinho said.

"But he has all the conditions to improve. With his age he can improve."

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