Chelsea legend Eden Hazard has insisted he was a superior player to Cristiano Ronaldo in ‘pure football’ terms.
Hazard retired from professional football back in October 2023 after his contract at Real Madrid ended earlier that year.
Since hanging up his boots, the former Belgium international has given various interviews free from the shackles of responsibility for club and country.
During a sit-down with L’Equipe, Hazard waded in on Ronaldo’s rivalry against Lionel Messi, while he also said that while the Portugal superstar was ‘bigger’ than him, he was inferior in one aspect.
“Individually, Messi is perhaps the only one,” Hazard said when asked about players better than himself. “I loved watching the Barcelona player, less so at the end, but he’s the greatest in history. It’s impossible to take the ball away from him.
“Cristiano is a bigger player than me but, in terms of pure football, I honestly don’t think so. Neymar, maybe. After that, he’s no better than me, but at Real, you’ve got the best, also in terms of their careers: [Karim] Benzema, [Luka] Modric, they were the best, Kroos, Kev [De Bruyne], they all exude football.”
Hazard was also asked if he could have had the mentality or dedication to play out a career like Ronaldo’s replying: “No. It wouldn’t have been me. After a meeting, go for an hour in the cold bath, no. Leave me alone, with my friends, we go home, we play cards, we drink a beer. I play for two hours with my sons in the garden. It was my recovery. If I had been like Cristiano, that’s the example, there are others, I would have burned out.”
Ronaldo was scheduled to face off against Messi for potentially the final time in their respective careers on Thursday when Al Nassr face Inter Miami in a friendly. However, Messi could only muster seven minutes from the bench and Ronaldo was ruled out with a muscle injury.