Eden Hazard recognises the need for Chelsea to perform well both in attack and defence tomorrow night against Barcelona, and he is relishing the spotlight being on him to make a major contribution.
With the home game first in this Round of 16 tie, the emphasis is on the Blues to build an advantage to take to Camp Nou on 14 March, but Hazard believes we are well capable of doing that.
‘Firstly, we need to defend as a team,’ he said on the eve of the encounter, ‘because if we don’t against Barcelona we are in trouble, so we need to defend all together and try to play our own football. We have players in our team who like the ball and when we have the ball, we need to play our own football and try to score goals, because the first game is at the Bridge in front of our own fans. We know it is tough to beat Chelsea and we are in a good position.’
As a player so highly rated in world football and one in good current form, Hazard knows the expectation is on him to make a difference and he agrees that is right, especially when he will be compared with Lionel Messi on the other side, who along with Cristiano Ronaldo is a player Hazard is frequently spoken of as having the potential to be placed in the same bracket.
‘It is good to be compared with the best in the world, Messi and Ronaldo,’ he said, ‘but I am different. We play in different leagues, I try to do my job, I try to reach that level, their level, and so every season I try to do my best.
'When you play in this kind of game you need to perform because if you want to be one of the best, you need to play well in big games and this is a big game, so let’s go for it.'
— Eden Hazard