‘De Bruyne among the best in the world’

Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard has hailed his Belgium team mate Kevin De Bruyne as one of the best players in the world, saying that the Manchester City midfielder could create “magic” with the ball at his feet.

De Bruyne, 26, has been vital to City’s dominant march to a 15-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with the attacking midfielder scoring seven goals and providing 14 assists in 28 league appearances for Pep Guardiola’s side.

“He’s fantastic,” Hazard told Sky Sports. “He’s clever on and off the pitch. He’s in full confidence as he’s playing in the best team in the Premier League this year.

“When he’s on the pitch with good players, he’s one of the best in the world. Every time he has the ball at his feet he can do something magic.

“He doesn’t score a lot of goals but he can create something with just one movement or pass. It’s simple, he’s a special player.”

Hazard said that his compatriot’s all-round ability had inspired him to vote for De Bruyne for the prestigious end-of-season PFA Player of the Year award, ahead of Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and Tottenham Hotspur frontman Harry Kane.

“I think there are three (best players in the Premier League) – Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane,” Hazard added.

“I voted for Kevin De Bruyne. He is the best. I could have also voted for Salah because I played with him and he’s my friend but Salah is more a striker than a player.

“Kevin has got everything. He defends, crosses the ball, assists and scores goals in big games. For me, he is the best this season.”

Chelsea are 22 points behind City ahead of Sunday’s league clash at the Etihad.