EDEN HAZARD is the most dangerous attacker in the Premier League this season – now he “has to play for Real Madrid”.
The brilliant Belgian, 28, was unstoppable in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over West Ham, scoring both including a stunning first where he beat five Hammers players and slotted home.
It means he is now the outright leader in terms of goals and assists combined.
He has 16 goals and 12 assists totalling 28 so far, with five games to go, while Sergio Aguero is second on 26.
Mohamed Salah (25), Raheem Sterling (24), and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (22) complete the top five ahead of the likes of Harry Kane, Paul Pogba and Jamie Vardy.
Hazard’s performance at Stamford Bridge last night had fans and pundits in awe of the winger.
Sky Sports pair Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher lauded him in their post-match analysis – but warned we could be about to lose the star.
Neville said: “It was a good performance, they were absolutely the better team. The Chelsea fans seemed excited but they have an outstanding world-class player who lit up the game.
“The first goal will live long in the memory. The second goal was more simple for him even though it was a really good goal.
“When you see a goal like that you feel sad in some ways that there is so much talk of Real Madrid.
Hazard’s too good for Chelsea, right now. He is one of the best players in the world – the best players play for Real Madrid or Barcelona.
“Once Real Madrid start getting linked with a player so strongly, you really think this could be his last five Premier League games.
“That’s a real problem for the Premier League because we keep losing our best players to Real Madrid and Barcelona.”
But Carragher knows just how powerful the lure from the Spanish giants is. He saw former team-mate Luis Suarez leave for the Nou Camp the year after retiring.
And he fully expects Hazard to get his dream move to Los Blancos this summer after outgrowing Chelsea.
Carragher said: “To be honest I don’t think you can ever stop that. Most players see that as the pinnacle. It’s sad in terms of not watching them week-in, week-out but I feel Hazard has to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona – he’s that good. Maybe Chelsea think that’s disrespectful.
“Hazard’s too good for Chelsea, right now. I just think he’s that good a player. when Luis Suarez was at Liverpool, I wanted him to stay at Liverpool.
“This is something me and Stevie Gerrard spoke about with Luis Suarez. Remember he nearly went to Arsenal, we said: ‘You’re too good for Arsenal. If you’re going to leave, you have to go to Barcelona.’
“Hazard is one of the best players in the world and the best players in the world play for your Real Madrids and Barcelonas. At this moment Chelsea aren’t… Yes he’s won leagues but not the Champions League.
“For him as an individual player, he needs Real Madrid on his CV to finish his career.”
Hazard has scored 108 goals and accumulated 76 assists in 342 Chelsea appearances since joining from Lille in 2012 for £32million – although his contract expires next season and he is expected to move to the Bernabeu.
Carragher reckons “a goal every three games is a very good ratio” and cited his individual accolades for club and country in recent years, including winning PFA Player and Young Player of the Year.
The ex-Liverpool defender also believes Hazard should have been named the best player at last summer’s World Cup and in the 2016/17 title-winning season, rather than Luka Modric and N’Golo Kante respectively.
But Neville is still demanding more from the winger, especially if he joins Real Madrid where the standards expected are even higher.
The former Manchester United defender added: “I don’t know how many times over the last few years I’ve said: ‘This is the most incredible player, amazing to watch – but I keep wanting more.’ Not more than tonight because he was absolutely amazing.
Latest Chelsea news
“That was a top performance but I’m disappointed because I think he’s better than that. That [his goals and assists record at Chelsea] will not be accepted at Real Madrid.
“If he goes to Real Madrid, he will score 25 [per season]. I’ve always wanted 25 from him, I’ve always wanted 30 from Sergio Aguero. I think Hazard is that good. To not have a 25-goal Premier League season is a disappointment. I love him to bits but he needs to go to the next [level].
“Salah, Neymar, Mbappe are all wide players who score 25 goals per season. It’s not just Messi and Ronaldo. But Hazard is in that class, we are putting him in that class.”