Having splashed £32m on Eden Hazard, there was already little doubt that Roberto Di Matteo was a huge fan of the player. However, the Blues boss has paid the Belgium international the greatest compliment yet, stating that Hazard could even become as good as Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola.
The 21-year-old arrived at Stamford Bridge with a massive reputation, having seen some of the biggest clubs in the world chase his signature. While it would be fair to say that the former Lille forward experienced a tough time during the club’s Community Shield defeat to Manchester City a couple of weeks ago, he fared much better in the game against Wigan on Sunday and played a huge part in the victory.
Following on from the above, there is certainly plenty of optimism about Hazard’s future. The press have already questioned Di Matteo about just how good the player can come and the Italian said, “He left his mark on the game. In pre-season he showed that kind of quality in training. Now, in the Premier League, hopefully there’s more to come from him. Is he like Zola? It’s difficult to compare players. Gianfranco was a wonderful talent – an artist, I would say. Eden might become an artist as well. After one game, it’s probably a bit too early.”
The very fact that Hazard is even being mentioned in the same sentence as Zola speaks volumes about how much of an impression he has made on the top flight. While there were initial worries about his attitude and just whether or not he would be able to cope with the physical aspect of the Premier League, those fears appear to have been allayed already. Di Matteo’s next challenge is to now try and link Hazard and Oscar together in the same team.