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Chelsea legend Eden Hazard names his toughest Premier League opponent – “He’s one of the best”


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Chelsea legend Eden Hazard names his toughest Premier League opponent – “He’s one of the best”

Chelsea legend Eden Hazard hailed Kyle Walker as his greatest adversary in the Premier League as he confessed he struggled to get the better of the Manchester City stalwart.

Hazard, 31, is considered one of the finest forwards of the last decade and was crowned PFA Men’s Players’ Player of the Year in 2014/15 after winning the title that season. Although things have not panned out as expected since he joined Real Madrid for an eye-watering fee which could exceed £150million in 2019, the Belgium winger tore through English defences for nine seasons.

However, one player he feels had his number was England international Walker. The 32-year-old is widely regarded as one of the finest right-backs in the world, boasting a brilliant blend of technical ability and physicality.

He is far more than just an imposing presence in defence and has been a key cog in Pep Guardiola’s dominant City team in recent years, playing a key role in build-up play with his ability to move inside from the flank and dictate the action. But Hazard focussed on Walker’s physical attributes as he claimed the former Tottenham star is “one of the best” in the business.

When asked to pick out his toughest opponent in the Premier League, the Stamford Bridge icon thought for a few moments and let out a deep breath before responding: “Kyle, Kyle Walker.” Asked to explain his decision, he continued: “He’s strong, he’s fast, you know. I am strong and fast but he is stronger than me and he is faster than me.”

“As a right-back, he is, I think, one of the best at the moment,” Hazard added with a laugh as he spoke to ESPN.

While Hazard believes he was often bested in his duel with Walker, he had a fine record against City throughout his time in England, during which he faced a variety of right-backs. The Lille academy graduate scored four goals and registered six assists in his 18 appearances against the Sky Blues.

He memorably scored both of Chelsea’s goals in a 2-1 victory over City in the 2016/17 season, having also netted against them in the reverse fixture at the Etihad earlier that campaign. In total, Hazard won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the EFL Cup and two Europa Leagues during his glittering spell in West London.

Although he has only found the back of the net six times in 66 appearances since joining Los Blancos, he remains one of the finest players to pull on a Chelsea shirt in the Premier League era, meaning his praise for Walker serves as a glowing verdict on the Englishman.

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