London, Aug 16 (IANS) English football club Chelsea captain John Terry has hailed Eden Hazard’s return to form and believes the Belgian midfielder is back among “the very best in the world”.
Hazard endured a dismal 2015/16 campaign, failing to score in the English Premier League for 27 matches as Chelsea slumped to a 10th place finish — their first outside the top six since 1996.
But the 25-year-old did not have to wait long for his first goal of the 2016-17 season, netting just after half-time in Chelsea’s 2-1 opening day victory over West Ham United on Monday.
“He’s up there with the very best in the world for me. We relied on him too much last season and he can’t do it all on his own even though he almost does,” Terry was quoted as saying by the club’s official website.
“He’s a world-class player and we’re very lucky to have him.”
Diego Costa’s late winner handed new Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte his first victory in the EPL in front of a sold-out Stamford Bridge crowd.
West Ham defender James Collins had briefly threatened to spoil the party, cancelling out Hazard’s earlier penalty, before Costa secured all three points for the home side in the 89th minute.
“It was very important to get off to a good start. The way we started and ended last season wasn’t good enough by our own standards,” the veteran defender said.
“We said before the game that whether we won, lost or drew that was the type of fight and commitment we want from everyone. We dug in, it was a big London derby and it means a lot to players and supporters. It was great for the management to get off to a good start as well,” Terry added.