'Hazard may need to leave Chelsea to reach his potential'

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 3,363

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Puel believes that Hazard may need to leave Chelsea to reach his potential. AFP

'Hazard may need to leave Chelsea to reach his potential'

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 3,363

Leicester manager Claude Puel has heaped praise on Chelsea star Eden Hazard but also suggested that the Belgian may need to leave the 'Blues' to become the best player in the world.

Puel was the man who gave a 16-year-old Hazard his debut when in charge at Lille back in 2007 and the forward hasn't looked back since, winning two Premier League titles and establishing himself as one of the division's best players.

However, rumours of a move to Real Madrid have always closely followed Hazard during his time at Stamford Bridge and Puel has now suggested that the player may have to leave the English capital if he wants to meet his undoubted potential.

"He can continue to make progress. After, I don't know if he has to stay at Chelsea or not - is that a problem?" Puel asked ahead of Saturday's game between the two sides.

"But I think he can continue to develop as a player. He has all the qualities to play for all the great teams in Europe, of course. He can make the difference, so for me he is a top player in Europe.

"The team is around Eden because he is the most important player for them. It is not possible to stop him because he cannot play in just the same position.

"He can play wide or striker or come back to take the ball. He can make always penetration and the difference, it is just important to have a good structure and organisation around him."

Finally, the 'Foxes' chief said that Hazard's ability was clear for all to see, even as a precociously-talented youngster and insisted that he would not be man-marking Hazard on Saturday.

"He is a fantastic player and he improves a lot," he said. "But he had the same quality at 16 when he started in the first team at Lille, it was the same.

"Of course now he has more consistency in his game but always he is fantastic in his play and has the ability and capacity to make good penetration and give good assists.

"Eden is a fantastic player but I wouldn't man-mark him. If we just keep concentration on Eden, other players can make the difference also. A good response is always a collective response with a competitive organisation."

Matt Morley

Matt Morley

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