Eden Hazard and Chelsea stars can be as great as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi says Antonio Conte
Chelsea and Eden Hazard had forgettable campaigns last season, but new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes that he can help Hazard and other Chelsea stars reach the levels of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
"These players, with work, can still improve a lot," said Conte. "Because now we have players, fantastic players, who have great talent but in this moment the world doesn't think they are the same level as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo or Paul Pogba.
"But in our squad there are players who, with work, can improve a lot and reach this level. I'm sure about this."
Chelsea who were Premier League champions in 2014-15 season could only finish in a disappointing 10th position. However, Antonio Conte is no stranger to these type of challenges having revived Juventus’ fortunes in the Serie A.
The first pre-season match for Chelsea did not go according to plan as the blues slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Rapid Vienna. Spaeaking after the match, Conte emphasised on training and working hard:
"It's important that the players understand they must work to show that 'Now I am a top player, but I want to become top, top, top, top and want to stay there,'" he said. "The mentality is important. The heart is important. Patience and the will to improve is very important. And in this case it's important for the manager to take the best players and try to improve them."
Conte added: "Last season was bad for all the players, it's incredible that Chelsea finished 10th in the table.
"The habit of Chelsea is to win the title or to stay until the end of the season fighting to win the title, to play in the Champions League."
The Chelsea manager also spoke about Eden Hazard in particular:
"And last season it was incredible, not only for Hazard but for other players also. It's important for us to recover Hazard in the best condition: technique, tactical, physical, overall and with the good mentality," Conte said. "But I spoke with him and I'm very happy. I'm pleased to train a fantastic player like him and also the other players.
"It's important for me, I repeat, next season to create the right spirit in the team and with great organisation, a great physical condition we can have a good season."
It will be extremely interesting to see how Eden Hazard and the Chelsea squad respond to Conte’s unique style of management.