Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hazard reminds me of Messi – Martinez

SoccerNews in English Premier League 5 Feb 2017

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Chelsea forward Eden Hazard’s dribbling technique is similar to that of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.

After a dismal previous campaign, Hazard is again showing the form that won him the 2014-15 PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season awards.

The 26-year-old produced a sublime individual goal as Chelsea thumped Arsenal 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, dribbling from inside his own half before beating Petr Cech.

Martinez feels the 3-4-3 formation favoured by Antonio Conte has brought the best out of Hazard and likened his dribbling ability to that of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.

“What he does is quite unique. It’s that acceleration and stopping and standing still. He reminds me a lot of Messi,” Martinez told Goals on Sunday.

“Not many players can control the moment and take the defenders where you want to take them.

“The way he uses the ball with his feet is sensational and what is surprising more than anything is his maturity.

“I think that Eden, at 26, is almost in the perfect moment of his career and the system that Chelsea plays, which is the same as we play in the national team, has really given him a new breath of life.

“Last season, as an opposition Premier League manager you were always aware of Eden Hazard and playing on the left wing it was probably easier to stop him having one-v-one situations.

“Now it is a lot harder to get him tied down.”

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