Eden Hazard: He could be 'one of the best in the world' - Nevin

Eden Hazard
He signed for a reported £32m from Lille in 2012,

Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard could become "one of the best players in the world" if he gets protection from referees, according to former Blues star Pat Nevin.

Hazard, 24, who has signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract at the club, is the most fouled player in the league this season, with opposing players being penalised 74 times.

"If he's going to last his five-and-a-half years he's got to get a bit more protection than he's getting just now," Nevin told BBC Sport.

"If he gets that then he could turn out to be one of the best players in the world. If he gets that, then he would be right on the coat-tails of Messi and Ronaldo."

How the trio compare at 24
Hazard - 3 major honours: Ligue 1, Coupe de France, Uefa Europa League
Messi - 26 major honours: 5 La Liga titles, 5 Supercopa de Espana, 3 Champions League titles, Copa del Ray, Fifa Club World Cup, Copa America, Ballon d'Or, Fifa Player of the Year, Olympic Gold, Fifa U20 World Cup, Uefa Club Footballer of Year
Ronaldo - 9 major honours: 3 Premier League titles, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League, Fifa World Club Cup, Fifa World Player of the Year, Ballon d'Or

The Belgium international has scored 13 times in 36 appearances this season and seen 28 opposing players booked for tackles against him.

"It's great news for the club. It looks as though he is going to now be a Chelsea player for the majority of the best part of his career and I for one am excited to keep watching him as a part of our game.

"Too often we are losing the best players out of the Premier League."

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