Hazard backed to match Ronaldo and Messi by Chelsea teammate Courtois

Thibaut Courtois believes his Chelsea and Belgium teammate Eden Hazard can one day reach the level of Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi, ESPN has reported.

Courtois accepted that the Clasico pair are out in front of Hazard – and everyone else – but believes the former Lille playmaker can equal their achievements and claim the Ballon d’Or, the award for the best player in world football that has been dominated since 2008 by Messi and Ronaldo.

Ronaldo has claimed the last two, while Messi won three in a row before that, while in 2009 Messi won the last Ballon d’Or under the old format – before the event was merged with FIFA’s World Player of the Year award – and Ronaldo won it in 2008. The same players won the same FIFA awards in the same years as well.

Courtois told RMC that for as long as Ronaldo and Messi continue on their current trajectory it will be hard for Hazard to match them, but believes it will happen one day. “He’s still not at the level of Messi and Ronaldo, who are head and shoulders above all the other players. But Eden has the potential to get there,” the goalkeeper said.

“He’s only 24-years-old. He can still improve,” Courtois continued. “He has the potential to be a future Ballon d’Or [winner]. But as long as Messi and Ronaldo play like that, scoring 30 goals in 30 matches, it won’t be easy.”

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