Real Madrid icon Zinedine Zidane has revealed that he likes Chelsea's attacking midfielder Eden Hazard as much as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Real assistant coach and France's 1998 World Cup winner made the revelation in an interview with FIFA.com. Hazard recently signed a five-and-half year contract at Stamford Bridge.
He has scored 13 times and produced eight assists to help Jose Mourinho's side establish an 10-point lead at the Premier League summit. "There are players I keep an eye on and who I like a lot, like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, of course," he said. "They’re fantastic players, but I like Eden Hazard a lot too. I enjoy everything he does on the pitch.
"I like the way he carries himself, that decisive streak in him and the fact that he’s improving every year. He can still get better too, and I think he’s a big reason why Chelsea are on top of the table."
Hazard's latest winning goal against Manchester United leaves Chelsea on the cusp of a first national title since 2010 with only six league games remaining.
Real Madrid are longtime admirers of Hazard, and Zidane's comments suggest he is still on their radar.
But the Liga giants face a tough battle if they want to persuade Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho to part with his prize asset - who is odds-on to be crowned PFA Player of the Year.
Perhaps more pertinently, isn't Zidane right?
While Messi and Ronaldo have dipped fractionally below their usual skyscraping standards this season, Hazard has been routinely exceptional in Chelsea's march towards the Premier League title.
He has established himself as the finest player in the country, and that's the sort of thing that makes interest from the likes of Real Madrid an inevitability.