Eden Hazard still has his best years ahead of him, according to Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.
Hazard turned in a virtuoso performance on Saturday, scoring twice as the Premier League champions dispatched Newcastle 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
It was a timely demonstration of the 26-year-old’s talents in the English top flight after his Belgium were paired with England in the 2018 World Cup draw.
Conte marvelled at his star man’s exploits as the topic of new deals for Hazard and his similarly valuable countryman, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, were again near the top of the agenda.
“I will be very happy when they sign their deals. They are great players who have a lot of space for improvement and it will be great to keep them,” he told reporters.
“But I don’t think that Eden is at the peak of his career yet. I think he has a lot of improvement [to make]. It’s important for him to work, work, work in every training session to improve himself and then to have this kind of performance.
“You are only at the top when you win the Ballon d’Or the first time, when you win the Champions League or when you win the World Cup. At that moment, you are a great player.”
Hazard’s club-mate Victor Moses, whose Nigeria will face Argentina, Croatia and Iceland in a mouth-watering Group D in Russia, believes England face a tall order when it comes to shackling the playmaker.
“Eden is enjoying his football,” said Moses, who drew the foul for Hazard to round off the scoring with a “Panenka” penalty.
“He is doing loads of amazing things. He does it in training as well. Sometimes, he just gets the ball and puts it through your legs without you even knowing.
“He’s a world-class player in top form. How will England stop him? That’s going to be hard work.”