Hazard: I am no artist like Messi
Chelsea star Eden Hazard refuses to put himself in the same category as Lionel Messi, hailing the Barcelona star as "a real artist".
Hazard has been in superb form this campaign and has been an integral component in Chelsea's fine performances in the Premier League, with Antonio Conte's side seven points clear of Tottenham atop the table.
The Belgium international's sublime displays have earned him comparisons with five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi, but the 26-year-old remains humble as he focuses on pleasing the fans.
"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 told France Football.
"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."