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Eden Hazard is world's best young player: Jose Mourinho

Brussels: Like mother, like son. Mrs Hazard used to play as a striker, in Belgium's women's first division. Now Eden is making a pretty decent stab of maintaining that maternal tradition at first Lille and now Chelsea.

Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard 

The Belgian international, whose younger brother Thorgen is also on Chelsea's books, heads off to the World Cup with a giant spring in his step, or entangled in controversy, depending on your point of view.

The 23-year-old's attacking performances have helped inspire Chelsea in the Premier League this season and earned him the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

Jose Mourinho, not a man prone to showering his players with idle platitudes, has suggested Hazard's "probably the best young player in the world" — with potential to rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Mourinho made that comment in February, after the gifted winger had helped Chelsea beat Manchester City.

The month before, there'd been further praise. "The kid is in a very good moment of his career. Three consecutive times he is man of the match," purred the Portuguese.

"He is a player who feels and accepts the responsibility, feels and accepts that a team player is more than a talented player, and without losing his fantastic ability and fantastic talent."

Fast forward to the beginning of May, and the Chelsea boss was taking an altogether different tack.

Stung by Hazard's apparent criticism of Chelsea's 'counter-attack' approach in the wake of their Champions League semi-final loss to Atletico Madrid Mourinho accused the Belgian of failing to be a team player.

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