Chelsea's Eden Hazard on Lionel Messi: I am not an artist like him
Chelsea forward Eden Hazard doesn't consider himself "a real artist" like Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
This season, Hazard has rediscovered the form that propelled him to the PFA Player of the Year award for 2014-15, and has helped the Stamford Bridge side to a seven-point advantage atop the Premier League.
The 26-year-old Belgium international's 11 goals and six assists in all competitions have seen his mentioned among the likes of Messi this campaign, but Hazard told France Football there's no comparison between him and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
"For me, the real artists are [Zinedine] Zidane and Ronaldinho. [Juan Roman] Riquelme as well for the way he moves and passes the ball," Hazard said.
"And then there is Messi. What he does with the ball is something else. I do not see myself at that level. It is up to others to make such comments. I am not going to proclaim myself an artist like him.
"I just want to bring happiness to the fans. The people who come to the stadium want to enjoy themselves and see a spectacle. It is up to us, the players, to make them happy.
"I have been a creative player ever since I was a child. You cannot practice it. Of course, I have worked hard to get where I am, but it is a skill I have that I have improved. It is natural to me. But you have to do it at the right time.
"The ball is my friend. We go way back. He is my most faithful friend. I caress the ball, but that is not always easy when I dribble. I can caress it when I shoot, like Thierry Henry. I can treat the ball like a woman, like a friend, like an elderly person."
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