Antonio Conte believes the sky is the limit for Eden Hazard and he wants him to achieve it at Chelsea.
The brilliant Belgian made it nine goals in his last 10 games as he single-handedly took Newcastle apart at Stamford Bridge as the Blues continued to keep on the coattails of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
The 26-year-old has another two-and-a-half years remaining on his current contract but the club, understandably, want him around for as long as possible with Conte of the belief his man of the moment is yet to reach his peak.
Both Hazard and goalkeeper and Belgium teammate Thibaut Courtois are poised to light up the World Cup next summer and Conte admits he and the club want negotiations with both tied up to a positive conclusion before either set foot in Russia.
“It is normal during the season to have the contact between the player – or the agent of the player – and the club,” he said. “I hope that at the end, Thibaut will sign his contract.
“If you ask me about these two players, I will be very happy when they can have this deal but this is the responsibility of the club to try to do this. But I can give my opinion about these two players and for me these two players are two great players especially because they have a lot of space for improvement. They are very young players and it will be great to keep them with us.
“The World Cup is a great tournament, the best tournament in the world. In this tournament you can show your abilities and your skills and you can show that you are a top player. I think this is a great chance that every great player has to show his ability.”
The Blues are likely to have to make Hazard the highest-paid player in their history, a wise investment given his current vein of form. But despite a willingness on both sides to get a deal done Conte is eager to stress that his star man can still improve even further.
“I don’t think that Eden is at the peak of his career,” he added. “I think he has a lot of improvement (to make). He is a young player and 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 at the top when you win the Ballon d’Or the first time, when you win the Champions League, when you win the World Cup. At that moment you are at the top of the world so you are a great player.”
Conte and Chelsea will hope he achieves it at their side.