New Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has told Eden Hazard he can mould him into the Blues’ Lionel Messi.
Hazard had the world at his feet at the end of the 2014-15 campaign when he was crowned Footballer of the Year as the Blues won the Premier League title.
But he had a rotten season last time out as he and his team-mates flunked, and was a shadow of the player who had set the top flight on fire.
Conte, however, has vowed to get him firing on all cylinders again and sees no reason why the likes of Hazard and Brazilian star Willian won’t soon be ranked alongside the greats of the game.
The Italian said: “Chelsea have players who can become top, top, top players. These players with work can still improve a lot.
“Because now we have players, fantastic players, who have great talent but in this moment the world doesn’t think they are the same level as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo or Paul Pogba.
“But in our squad there are players who, with work, can improve a lot and reach this level. I’m sure about this.
“It’s important that the players understand they must work to show that ‘Now I am a top player, but I want to become top, top, top, top and want to stay there’.
“The mentality is important. The heart is important. Patience and the will to improve is very important. And in this case it’s important for the manager to take the best players and try to improve them.
“Last season was bad for all the players, it’s incredible that Chelsea finished 10th in the table.
“The habit of Chelsea is to win the title or to stay till the end of the season fighting to win the title, to play in the Champions League.
“And last season it was incredible, not only for Hazard but for other players also. It’s important for us to recover Hazard in the best condition: technique, tactical, physical, overall and with the good mentality.
“But I spoke with him and I’m very happy. I’m pleased to train a fantastic player like him and also the other players.
“It’s important for me, I repeat, next season to create the right spirit in the team and with great organisation, a great physical condition we can have a good season.”