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Barcelona legend Carles Puyol: Eden Hazard is yet to reach Lionel Messi’s level

Barcelona faces Chelsea in their second leg Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday and club icon Carles Puyol has spoken about Blues danger man Eden Hazard, saying he is some way off the level of Lionel Messi.

The former Barcelona captain lifted three Champions Leagues during his 15-year spell at the Catalan giants before he retired in 2014 and faced the London outfit five times.

He experienced both euphoria when Andres Iniesta’s stoppage-time strike put them into their first Champions League final under Pep Guardiola and heartache when Fernando Torres broke free to score the winner at Camp Nou in 2012.

Yet, when it comes to comparing Belgian winger Hazard to his former teammate Messi and Real Madrid talisman Ronaldo, he says there are many differences.

Speaking at the Laureus Sports Awards he said:

“I don’t think he’s at their level yet. We are talking about incredible players. It’s not just one season, they have been at the maximum level for 10 years now.

“For me, Messi is the best player in the world and in history. It’s impressive what he’s doing every year at an exceptionally high level, breaking records, getting better and better in more aspects of his game.

 “So to compare him with Messi or Ronaldo is difficult, but Eden Hazard is a fantastic player. He’s a player who makes the difference and has plenty of time to grow.”
The tie is delicately poised after Messi salvaged an away goal in the dying moments in the reverse fixture after Willian initially put the Blues in front.
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