In the aftermath of the Man City vs Chelsea game, Jose Mourinho sang Eden Hazard's praises after another impressive performance by the 23 year old. Mourinho even went as far to proclaim Eden Hazard the best young player in the world - one of a few with the potential to challenge Messi and Ronaldo.
Mourinho told reporters:
"I keep saying he has to improve. He needs to have his feet on the ground. Ronaldo and Messi are Ronaldo and Messi. Eden Hazard is probably the best young player in the world with legs to go there, but give him time."
It is hard at times to agree with Mourinho due to his propensity to exaggerate or bend stories in his favour, however this time I am thoroughly in agreement with Mourinho - Eden Hazard is the best young player in the world.
If we limit the time frame a player can be considered 'young' as 23, then of all the 16-23 year olds playing football, very few are as prominent as Eden Hazard in regards to how integral they are to their team and even fewer have achieved what Hazard has achieved in his short career.
When in Lille, Eden Hazard jettisoned the club to Ligue 1 and Coupe de France glory with 7 goals and 10 assists in 38 games. This was also enough to earn him the title of footballer of the year in France - a title of great significance considering names such as: David Ginola, Zinedine Zidane, Pauleta, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Juninho Pernambucano, Florent Malouda and Karim Benzema had won it - it certainly was an early sign of things to come.
Indeed, Hazard repeated the feat a season later when his 20 goals and 16 assists - half of all the goals Lille scored in the 2011/12 season (72) - saw him retain his footballer of the year title. This was incredible considering only Pauleta had won the award twice; even more incredible when knowing that Hazard was only 21 at the time.
The only young player in the world who can match Hazard in terms of how integral he is to a team and the many accolades he has won is Belgian and Chelsea team mate Thibaut Courtouis. In the past 3 season Courtois has been on loan, he has helped Atletico Madrid to win so many trophies and establish themselves as the third wheel in the race for La Liga. So impressive has he been, he is widely regarded as one of the world's leading goalkeepers - a fantastic feat for someone so young (21) in a position that requires excellent mental capabilities - a position you are also expected to peak in when you are in the early/mid 30s.
Other players such as Mario Gotze, Neymar, Marco Verratti, Isco, Pogba, Julian Draxler, Roberto Firmino, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gundogan, Romelu Lukaku and Aaron Ramsey; whilst arguably are just as talented, have not showcased their skills for nearly as long as Courtois and Hazard have.
Without a shadow of a doubt Courtois and Hazard are the two best young players in the world right now, they are also Chelsea players too. A sign of things to come?