Cape Town - Chelsea
winger Eden Hazard has talked himself down in comparison to Lionel
Messi and Zinedine Zidane, saying he's not yet a true maestro.
Although the Belgian is known for skills, and has shown again this
campaign why some rate him as England's finest attacker, he still feels
that there's much to learn.
"For me, the real artists are Zidane and Ronaldinho," he told France Football. "[Juan Roman] Riquelme as well for the way he moves and passes the ball.
"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."
Meanwhile Antonio Conte says nothing has changed in Chelsea's bid for Premier
League glory despite the Blues suffering a shock 2-1 loss to Crystal
Palace on Saturday.
The result left the side still seven
points clear of second-placed Tottenham, who defeated Burnley 2-0, with
nine matches of the season remaining.
Up next for Conte's charges
is a home tie with fourth-placed Manchester City on Wednesday, meaning
the London side could potentially see their lead further reduced ahead
of games with Bournemouth, Manchester United and Spurs.