Eden Hazard is “still not at his best”, according to Gianfranco Zola, with Chelsea convinced that there is even more to come from a player enjoying a stunning run of form.
The Belgium international was eased into the 2018-19 campaign by new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri on the back of a hectic World Cup summer with his country.
That approach has delivered rich rewards, with Hazard having already contributed five goals and two assists to the Chelsea cause.
Three of those efforts came in his most recent Premier League outing against Cardiff, with a scintillating display seeing the 27-year-old showered with praise.
Hazard is, however, being tipped to take his game to even greater heights by a man who once filled the role of club talisman at Stamford Bridge and returned to west London as a first-team coach over the summer.
Blues legend Zola told Chelsea TV: “Eden is a fantastic player and is getting to have more maturity when he plays so the results are mainly due to his qualities.
“Of course he’s the type of player that it can benefit him a lot because you have a lot of the ball, close to the opposition’s goal and in these conditions Eden can take a big advantage.
“I think he’s still not at his best. The more he plays in and understands the system, he’s going to be even more effective.”
While Zola sees Hazard taking his game to even greater heights, Chelsea boss Sarri has suggested that the Belgian is already at the top of his game.
He told reporters after witnessing a match-winning showing against Cardiff: “I thought Hazard was one of the best players in Europe, but now I am changing my mind that he is the best.”
The Blues will be looking to Hazard for further inspiration over the coming week as they prepare to take in three testing fixtures.
Chelsea have collected six successive victories across all competitions to sit top of the Premier League and get up and running in the Europa League, but are about to see that faultless run come under serious threat.
A derby date with West Ham is next on the agenda, with that contest set to be followed by back-to-back meetings with Liverpool in Carabao Cup and English top-flight competition.