Mateo Kovacic reveals where Chelsea star Eden Hazard rates amongst the best players in the world

Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has claimed to have not been aware of teammate Eden Hazard’s quality until arriving at Stamford Bridge in August.

The Croatian joined on loan from Champions League holders Real Madrid last month for the duration of the season.

Hazard had spent all summer being linked with Real and could have played alongside Kovacic in Spain, but the Belgian winger agreed to stay with the Blues and the midfielder’s arrival in London on transfer deadline day has united the duo together this season, both of whom finished in the top four of this summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Both players were left in London for Maurizio Sarri’s side’s 1-0 Europa League victory over PAOK Salonika on Thursday night in Greece.

Hazard was rested after playing in all five of Chelsea’s league matches so far this season, whilst Kovacic was forced off with a minor injury during Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Cardiff City and was left at home for the Europa League trip as a precaution.

They were just two of the players spared for the match in Thessolaniki, with defenders David Luiz and Emerson Palmieri also staying in England and Danny Drinkwater not an official member of the club’s Europa League squad.

Kovacic has so far played four times for Chelsea since arriving last month; after making his debut as a substitute against Arsenal, Kovacic has started during the Blues’ victories over Newcastle United, Bournemouth and Cardiff.

Hazard has scored five goals in Kovacic’s three Chelsea starts, making him the Premier League’s current top goalscorer and the Croatian midfielder has discussed how highly he rates Hazard, despite being initially unaware of how good he was before signing for Chelsea.

Speaking about Hazard, Kovacic told London Evening Standard: “Really good. I didn’t know he’s so good.”

“Obviously I knew that he is a great player, but now, when I see him playing with us every day, every week, he is just incredible.

“For me, in this moment, one of the three best players in the world.

“I am enjoying with him, with other players, because the team is really amazing, talented, and I think we can do great things this season.”

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