Eden Hazard says he is enjoying comparisons to World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi, but insists it is up to Roberto Di Matteo as to whether he plays a similar central role at Chelsea to that of the Barcelona star.
Hazard moved to Stamford Bridge for £32 million at the start of the summer and has plenty of pressure resting on his shoulders heading into the new campaign. At the age of 21, he will be expected to play a crucial role for the European champions next season, as the Blues launch an assault on the Premier League title.
A diminutive creator with superb technique, Hazard has drawn comparisons to Messi, the man whose game he has tried to emulate. Messi has been transferred to a central role by Barcelona in recent years, helping him to dictate play for the Catalans, but Hazard does not know if Di Matteo will afford him the same responsibility.
Hazard told SunSport: "Messi is the world's best player and it's a bit of an exaggeration to say I can be that good.
"But I am happy if people see similarities between us and being compared to Messi makes me think about what I can achieve with Chelsea rather than the obstacles I need to overcome to get there.
"Ultimately it's the coach who will decide if I play in a similar role to the one Messi plays for Barca but I am looking to succeed the Eden Hazard way."