Eden Hazard must show greater consistency to be considered among the world’s best players, according to Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink.
Like the Blues, Hazard has endured a poor campaign, but he had a decisive say in the Premier League title race.
He scored his first league goals of the season against Bournemouth last month, before netting an excellent finish against Spurs on Monday night to end the Lilywhites’ title chances, and send the Premier League trophy to Leicester.
It is expected that the attacking midfielder will spend the rest of the season as a key figure in Hiddink’s plans, and the Dutch boss wants to see Hazard showing more consistency if he is to ever challenge for individual awards such as the Ballon d’Or.
“To win a Ballon d’Or or whatever then you need more consistency in performances,” the Blues’ interim boss said, ahead of the game against Sunderland.
“It’s a long way for him to knock on that door. (But) when this guy is fit, physically, then he can play as nature has gifted him.
“We coaches think ‘We make this player, I discovered that player’ but they are gifted.
“If the conditions are good for him, in the environment or the physical part, then they love to play.
“You see the big, big players love to play like amateurs and he has to play as an amateur again.”
Hazard’s goal against Tottenham came towards the end of a fiery game, which saw nine Spurs players booked, and Hiddink has criticised the nature of the clash following the confirmation that both clubs have been charged by the FA for failing to control their players.
He added: “It was a hot game.
“Within the rules of sportsmanship you have to play.
“There were too many chest to chest situations, which was not good for the game.
“It’s up to the FA to make a judgement. I don’t have any comments on that (the response).”