Paul Scholes believes Eden Hazard needs to improve his goalscoring record if he is to be considered one of the best players in the world.
The Belgium international has been pivotal in Chelsea’s Premier League title challenge this season with 13 goals and eight assists in 32 appearances.
But Scholes has questioned whether Hazard has the “hunger” to keep scoring goals, and says he must become more ruthless if he wants to challenge Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the crown of the world’s best.
“One thing I do wonder with Hazard is whether he has that hunger to score goals that you see in Ronaldo, Messi and [Luis] Suarez,” Scholes wrote in The Independent.
“Those are players who have a ferocious appetite to put the ball in the net. They’re unstoppable. Hazard seems to me to be a relatively gentle soul. One who is just as happy skipping past a couple of opponents and putting it on a plate for a team-mate.
“He does that very well, and I have no doubt he will deserve his accolade at the PFA awards. Playing the way he does, under pressure to score goals and make them, is not easy and he has been a big part of Chelsea’s success. But in this modern age, if he wishes to challenge the achievements of Messi and Ronaldo then he will have to prove that he can match their relentless desire to score goals.”
However, despite his criticisms, Scholes says he would vote for Hazard to win the PFA Player of the Year award ahead of Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
Kane has enjoyed a stellar breakthrough campaign at White Hart Lane and has found the net 30 times in all competitions so far this term.
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho and Chelsea striker Diego Costa are also named on the PFA’s shortlist.
“My vote would go to Eden Hazard,” Scholes added. “I prefer the attacking footballers – you wouldn’t expect me to say otherwise – and Hazard has been the best in that regard.
“Not streets ahead of the likes of Harry Kane, and nothing like the wow-factor of those two big players at Barcelona and Real Madrid. But Hazard has made the difference in big games, like the one against Manchester United.”