Hazard can be Chelsea’s new Zola, claims Di Matteo

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has backed Eden Hazard to be a success at Stamford Bridge, going so far as to claim the Belgium international can emulate Gianfranco Zola, the Daily Mirror has reported.

While acknowledging it was a little too early to judge Hazard after only one Premier League appearance, Di Matteo admitted he has the potential to follow in the footsteps of the Italian. Di Matteo said: “Is he like Zola? It’s difficult to compare players. Gianfranco was a wonderful talent – an artist I would say. Eden might become an artist as well.

If Hazard can replicate the achievements of Zola he will go down in Chelsea folklore much as Zola has. The former striker, now manager of Championship side Watford, was voted the club’s greatest ever player in a fan’s poll in 2003 and won the Chelsea player of the year award twice, in 1999 and 2003. He was also named the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year in 1997. Zola made more than 300 appearances in his time with the Blues, scoring 80 goals.

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