Eden Hazard has ruled out a January move away from Chelsea, but has admitted that he may need to join Real Madrid in order to win the Ballon d’Or.
The Belgium international has been in stunning form at the start of the 2018-19 campaign, netting seven times in the Premier League to lead the hunt for the Golden Boot.
His form has earned him a billing as the finest player in Europe from Blues boss Maurizio Sarri, with it widely acknowledged that the 27-year-old is performing at a level few players can match.
Having positioned himself among the elite, and with no fresh terms agreed at Stamford Bridge as yet, talk of a big-money move away from west London continues to rage.
Madrid have been heavily linked with a swoop for some time and Hazard acknowledges that, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo having dominated the global game while turning out in La Liga, he may need to head for Spain in order to see his achievements recognised.
“That’s why I want to go, maybe,” a man who is on the 30-man shortlist for the 2018 Ballon d’Or told Sky Sports.
Quizzed on whether such a switch could be made in the next transfer window, Hazard said: “Nope.”
He is happy to see out the current campaign at Chelsea, with familiar surroundings allowing him to flourish at present.
Hazard believes he is producing the best performances of his career to date and feels that the consistency he has achieved makes him deserving of a standing alongside the finest talent on the planet.
Asked he considers himself to be the best player in the world, Hazard said: “Yes.”
He is, however, prepared to acknowledge that he still has room for improvement, adding: “Of course. You can always improve in football – more goals, more assists.
“The team is helping me a lot but I can improve for sure.”
Hazard’s current contract at Chelsea is set to expire in 2020, so the Blues will have a big decision to make next summer if no extension is agreed.
Their hand may be forced when it comes to the sale of a prized asset, with 2019 set to present them with a final opportunity to generate a sizeable fee before a star turn begins to decrease in value as he heads towards free agency.