Antonio Conte thinks that Eden Hazard has the ability to score more goals like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi but he thinks that he doesn’t have that same desire to chase hat-tricks.
Hazard put in a man of the match performance as Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners away to Atletico Madrid. The 26-year-old’s performance helped the team to become the first English side to win away against Atletico in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Chelsea face Manchester City less than three days after that and Conte has hinted his winger is ready to start two games in a row for the first time since last season, comparing his star to Ronaldo and Messi ahead of the battle between the two title contenders.
“Yeah but Eden, in every game, he finds a way to be decisive during a game,” Conte said at Cobham Training Centre. “To score or to make an assist for a team-mate. I love this. I love this from him. I ask this of him because one player with his talent, it’s important as a coach to ask him to be decisive every game.
“If God gives you this talent, you must exploit this talent. My task is sometimes to try and push him to be decisive in every moment, in every game, and also that the team-mates wait for this. I think he has a style to improve [his hunger in front of goal] in this specific situation.
“I think that, sometimes, Eden is… If he scores one goal, he’s happy and then, if there is another situation, he prefers to make an assist rather than scoring twice. I see, for Ronaldo, that if he scores once he wants two, three, four. It’s the same for Messi. Yes, he can improve.
“But I think that, during the games, when you create – for example, at Atletico, he was important because he put the ball in for Alvaro to score our goal. It’s very important that he is important in every game for us, to make chances, to score or to provide assists for our players.
“Very important. Eden for sure is a top player. I think in this season he has a big opportunity. A big opportunity because, this season, we can play in the Champions League. I think the Champions League, together with the Premier League, is important for a player to show you are a top player and can compete to be the best.
“I think this is very important this season. This season is very important for Eden. Now I’m pleased because, after a bad injury, now he’s fit. He’s in good form. His season is starting. I think this season has started for him with a big game against Atletico Madrid, and now he has to show this season that he deserves to stay at the top with the best.
“Usually during the season you have ups and downs, but last season was impressive for his continuity. This season he must show again this. Also in the Champions League, not only the Premier League and FA Cup. In every game he plays, we must see that.”
“For every coach, our task is to try and improve our players, to try to put our players in the best condition to exploit their talent. Then, to try to work on their weaknesses, to try and improve them. Don’t forget, Eden is a young player. He has a lot of room to show he can be competitive for the best position in the world.”
The Belgium captain’s good form last season caught the eye of Real Madrid who were considering a big money move for him last summer. Chelsea are reportedly considering offering Hazard a £300,000-per-week contract to ward off interest from Los Blancos.
However, Conte refused to confirm that negotiations were taking place and he says that the club’s directors are responsible for contract renewals.
“These are club issues, not my issues.”