Just a week before their Champions League encounter against Chelsea in the Round Of 16, Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen has spoken out on the similarities between the Blues’ and Barcelona’s talisman Hazard and Messi.
The former Arsenal centre-back is relishing the prospect of returning to London as he will become fierce rivals with his good friend Eden Hazard. Vermaelen and Hazard may be reunited in the summer for the FIFA World Cup in Russia, but knows he will have to be at his very best to stop the 27-year-old Chelsea attacker to help his club progress in Europe.
And the 32-year-old veteran Belgian defender has drawn comparisons between Messi and Hazard, who are arguably the best players for their club and country, respectively and has also admitted to how fortunate he is to be playing alongside these two superstars.
Vermaelen’s On Messi-
In a recent interview with Daily Mail, Vermaelen spoke out on Messi saying, ”What amazes me is that he does what he [Messi] does every day, I came here and thought that he maybe saves the best stuff for games, but he does it day-in-day-out. He’s unbelievable in training.”
“If you gamble that he’s going to go one way then he’ll go the other and when he comes at you on the diagonal at the speed he moves at it’s very difficult to stop. You might know that he’s probably going to shoot off his left but he’s always quicker than you so knowing doesn’t help.”
Vermaelen: “There are moments when you see Messi do something and you just laugh. Even sat on the bench during a game, you watch what he's doing, and you just laugh” #fcblive
— Barcastuff (@barcastuff__) February 16, 2018
Vermaelen was full of praise for the Argentine maestro and his natural talent. He went on to add, “He doesn’t get too emotionally involved with the player that’s marking or tackling him either. He never gets distracted. He is just getting on with the job. It is pure talent and it all comes naturally. I think for him it doesn’t even feel special.”
Vermaelen on Hazard-
Vermaelen then began judging his own national mate Hazard, who gave him a few nightmares in the London derby, as he believes that the two are similar in the traits and characteristics they possess, ”There are similarities, they are both quite small with that low sense of gravity so they can turn and twist very quickly.”
“They have that element of surprise in their game and they can move so fast. And especially in the form he is in now, I saw the goal he scored recently against Watford, for example, he’s a world-class player. To compare him to Messi is so difficult but he is up there with the very best.”
Hazard was instrumental for Chelsea in winning the Premier League title last season and has continued his sensational form for manager Antonio Conte while Messi had a rather underwhelming season with his Catalonian club despite winning the Copa Del Rey towards the end of last season, he has been amazing for Barcelona this season as they sit comfortably on pole position in the La Liga.
It’s a big statement to make, whenever a player is being compared to Messi because he is the benchmark. There is no doubt about Hazard’s quality on the football pitch, but Messi is on another level altogether. It’ll be an interesting battle in the Champions League to see who gets the better of one another.