How can Eden Hazard become the world's best footballer?
After his recent inclusion in the FIFA FIFPro World XI, Eden Hazard has moved an inch to show he possesses what it takes to be known as the planet's best player. The Belgium international has been on the rise since joining Chelsea in 2012. This season has started on an excellent note for him. The 27-year-old attacker's already scored seven Premier League goals, in only eight games.
Over time, Hazard has proven his quality as one of the world's top talents. However, inconsistent performance during a few campaigns prevents many from putting him in the very top bracket.
At a time when most are eager to witness a new generation crowned the best on the globe, Hazard is currently in prime position. He's on track to becoming the greatest Premier League player ever. Luka Modric claiming the Best Award three weeks ago has opened the door for new names to win FIFA's individual accolades in the near future.
Hazard will definitely be among the favourites to take such honours. Although neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo can be ruled out of reestablishing themselves at the summit, this period represents the most likely for the duo's dominance to end.
So, what's stopping Hazard from taking the mantle?
Looking at Hazard's ability, it has been shown beyond doubt he belongs among the top echelon. At present, few come close to matching his skillset. What he must do, though, is increase output dramatically.
Hazard's goal tally doesn't produce awe. Even when winning the PFA Player of the Year four seasons ago he found the net only 14 times in 38 matches. His best effort in England's top division is 16. Both Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku have surpassed that number in a single campaign, albeit they are strikers. The point is the footballing universe goes into meltdown about goals, much more so than flicks and twists.
The influence Hazard had at the World Cup, scoring three times and helping Belgium finish third, the nation's best ever performance, shows he can take a team to new heights. Add that to his display so far this season, he has noticeably improved goal output during the past five months. That must continue to have any chance of rivalling the world's most renowned stars.
Four weeks ago, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri spoke about Hazard possibly hitting the 40-goal mark this campaign. The Italian clearly has faith in his talisman, while also understanding the need for him to maintain strike rate over a longer period.
Hazard previously said he wants to concentrate on enjoying his football, instead of paying too much attention to his figures. However, with Alvaro Morata struggling and Olivier Giroud not a conventional marksman, he is now Chelsea's main goal source. The Belgian will need to double his best tally if the Blues are to secure the Premier League come May.
Leading Chelsea to another title while winning the Golden boot would stamp Hazard's status as a player deserving of the world's best crown.