ONE OF THE BEST Eden Hazard is almost on the same level as Lionel Messi, says former Barcelona and Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o

Eden Hazard is close to being on the same level as Lionel Messi now that he has moved to Real Madrid, says former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o.

After an excellent season, which proved to be his last at Chelsea, Hazard recorded 21 goals and 17 assists, while winning the Europa League.

Hazard in action during pre-season for Real Madrid

Having been pursued by Real for several seasons, the 28-year-old finally agreed a much anticipated move to the Spanish capital for a fee believed to be around £88million, which could rise to £130million due to add-ons.

Eto’o played alongside Hazard during the 2013/14 campaign and has seen first hand just how good the diminutive Belgian can be.

While Messi netted a staggering 51 times last season and is aiming to win his sixth Ballon d’Or, Cameroon legend Eto’o believes Hazard needs to win the honour at some stage in his career.

“Hazard has to win the Ballon d’Or,” Eto’o told Radio MARCA and El Partidazo of COPE.

“He hasn’t been valued enough but now he’s at one of the best teams in the world all eyes will be on him.

Eto’o and Hazard at Chelsea in 2014

Eto’o and Hazard at Chelsea in 2014

“He’s close to Messi’s level and I hope that he plays Barcelona when he’s at 100 percent.”

While it is still early days at his new club, Hazard has enjoyed a difficult start to life as a Real Madrid player, first losing 3-1 to Bayern Munich and then 7-3 against Atletico Madrid.

Elsewhere in Spain, Gareth Bale will not join Chinese Super League club Jinagsu Suning after the move was cancelled by Real Madrid.

In a dramatic turn of events, the Welshman now looks set to stay at the Bernabeu, BBC Sport claims.

Updated: July 28, 2019 — 10:36 pm

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