Eden Hazard has called Belgium teammate Kevin De Bruyne “the best player” in the Premier League after the Manchester City man’s stunning start to the season.
With two goals and six assists, De Bruyne has been central to City racing out of the blocks to build an eight-point lead just 11 matches into the league campaign.
Hazard is only just now returning to his best after breaking his ankle while on international duty in the summer, and the Chelsea midfielder admitted De Bruyne is playing the better football.
“I think City are the best team in the Premier League, for sure,” he is quoted as saying by DH.be. “They’ve shown that in the first 10, 11, 12 games of the season. Kevin is a player who is important in the system put in place by [Pep] Guardiola. He’s able to fully express his potential.
“Since the start of the season, he’s the best player in the league. He’s also fortunate to be in a team that plays well, that exploits his qualities marvellously.”
De Bruyne was named Best Belgian Player in a Foreign League last year for his efforts with City despite Hazard claiming the Premier League title with Chelsea.
And Hazard is fully aware of the impact the ex-Chelsea man could have on Roberto Martinez’s Belgium squad at next summer’s World Cup in Russia.
“In the national team, Kevin is criticised a lot. But each time he plays, he gives his all,” Hazard said ahead of Friday’s friendly with Mexico. “He also plays in a different role as at City.
“The most important thing is the World Cup, we know he’ll be there and we know he’ll make the difference for the team.”
Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman