Ex-Blues leftback Minto has backed Eden Hazard to score 40 goals this campaign.

Fresh from his World Cup exertions, Hazard was slowly eased into the side by new head coach Maurizio Sarri but the Belgian has continued his impressive form in Russia to Stamford Bridge. The winger is on top of the goalscoring charts in the Premier League with five strikes, despite only starting in three of the five games of Chelsea so far (totalling 307 minutes of play.)

Last weekend, Hazard produced only his second hat-trick for the West London club after a 4-1 victory over Cardiff at Stamford Bridge. While the Belgian has been the most consistent performer in the Blues squad since joining the club in 2012, his under-par goal tally has been a source of frustration for many, with his 16 strikes in Chelsea’s title-winning 2016-2017 campaign under Antonio Conte his best output in an individual season.

However, former Chelsea leftback and current pundit Minto reckons that Hazard will be able to smash that record in the current campaign under the tutelage of Sarri. “I do think he’s capable of [of scoring 40 goals],” said Minto. “I really do. I covered Spanish football for four years and I saw Ronaldo and Messi, and the way they did it.

“He’s just below them. I’ve not met him but I’ve heard about what he’s like as a person and a trainer. He’s a great lad, he’s one of the boys, he works hard. But I don’t think he quite realises how good he can be and what exactly you need to do to get every last ounce out of yourself to be the best.

Embed from Getty Images

“Him trying at 50 per cent is better than the rest of us could ever be, but him trying at 100 per cent and really believing he could get up to the Ronaldo and the Messi level…”

With Sarri’s fresh and expansive footballing philosophy installed at Stamford Bridge, the stage is set for Hazard to reach new heights with the club.