‘FREE-SCOR­ING HAZ­ARD CAN WIN BAL­LON D’OR WITH CHELSEA’

Observer on Saturday - - Sport - Goal

Former Chelsea striker An­driy Shevchenko be­lieves that Blues star Eden Haz­ard can win the Bal­lon d’Or if he keeps up his red-hot scor­ing form. Haz­ard has made a fan­tas­tic start to the 2018-19 sea­son, scor­ing eight goals in 10 ap­pear­ances for Chelsea thus far. The Bel­gian has long been con­sid­ered one of the game’s big­gest tal­ents, but his in­abil­ity to hit true scor­ing heights - his best sea­son with Chelseas saw him score 16 Premier League goals - has kept him from be­ing se­ri­ously con­sid­ered

LON­DON -

for the game’s top in­di­vid­ual prize. The former Lille wide­man even sug­gested that he could be forced to leave Stam­ford Bridge for Real Madrid if he is to chal­lenge for in­di­vid­ual sil­ver­ware in the fu­ture.

But cur­rent Ukraine Man­ager Shevchenko feels that con­tin­u­ing the form he has shown in the early weeks of the cur­rent cam­paign could see him recog­nised sooner rather than later.

At­tacks

“Why do at­tack­ers al­ways get in­di­vid­ual awards? Be­cause they are re­spon­si­ble for fin­ish­ing at­tacks,” Shevchenko told Goal. “Peo­ple like to see goals scored. Haz­ard is a phe­nom­e­nal, fan­tas­tic player, but he wasn’t get­ting those 20-25 goals per sea­son.

“This sea­son he al­ready has eight, so he’s on the road to that num­ber. He has ev­ery chance of win­ning the Bal­lon d’Or.” Haz­ard’s per­for­mances have helped Mau­r­izio Sarri to get off to a fly­ing start to life in west Lon­don, with the Blues un­beaten un­der the former Napoli boss.

Chelsea are level on points with Manch­ester City and Liver­pool atop the Premier League ta­ble, and Shevchenko - who has vis­ited Sarri at the club’s Cob­ham train­ing ground al­ready this sea­son - has been im­pressed with the work the Ital­ian has done with the Blues. “Chelsea have a very good team, an ex­cel­lent range of play­ers,” the 42-year-old, who has worked as a pun­dit for DAZN this sea­son, said. “The struc­ture of play en­cour­aged by Sarri suits the play­ers at Chelsea very well. They like to play cre­ative foot­ball. “The team has started well, show­ing both high­qual­ity foot­ball and good re­sults.” One Blues player who has not had as strong of a start as Haz­ard is Al­varo Mo­rata, who has just three goals in 10 ap­pear­ances and has seen his play­ing time di­min­ished by the ar­rival of Olivier Giroud back in Jan­uary. Shevchenko knows ex­actly what it is like to strug­gle for goals at Stam­ford Bridge hav­ing failed to live up to his £30 mil­lion price tag when he left AC Mi­lan for the English cap­i­tal, even­tu­ally scor­ing 22 goals in 77 ap­pear­ances for the Blues.

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