Bolo Zenden has claimed Eden Hazard needs to leave Chelsea in order to be regarded as one of the best players in the world.

Hazard has been in spectacular form since the World Cup last summer with a strong claim as the Premier League’s outstanding player of the season so far. Such performances would attract attention from football’s elite clubs and Zenden, a former Blues midfielder, says that the west London club would struggle to keep hold of the Belgian ace, despite Hazard recently claiming he will not force the Stamford Bridge outfit to sell him.

Zenden, who played for the Blues from 2001-2004, then claimed Hazard must move to either Barcelona or Real Madrid in order to break the Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi duopoly of the Ballon d’Or award for the last decade.

“It will be hard for Chelsea to keep him, with Barcelona, Real ­Madrid and Paris Saint­-Germain around,’ said the ex-Blues midfielder. “He needs a move to ­Barcelona or Madrid to be up there, classed with the best in the world. Yes, he has done it in England. But with that platform of having played for the likes of Barcelona or Real, that is what they look for when they decide the player of the year.”

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Zenden also reiterated the difficulty of signing the Belgian ace with regards to the significant ballooning of transfer fees in the past transfer windows before stressing the importance for Chelsea to keep hold of their Belgian talisman, citing not only his match-winning qualities but also his great attitude in the dressing room.

“If you see Neymar going for £198million, Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo around £100m, then he will be up there as one of the biggest fees in history – and he should be,” added Zenden. “It’s vital for them to keep him. He has incredible quality, he is a happy chap to have around the place, a ­brilliant professional and good in the dressing room. All in all, he is just ­a ­really good guy, as well as being a great player.”