Former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole has picked Blues talisman Eden Hazard as the best player he’s ever played with.

Cole, who recently announced his retirement from his playing career earlier this week, played for a variety of football clubs, including the likes of boyhood club West Ham United, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Coventry. While he last played for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the USL before hanging up his boots, it is at Chelsea where the former England midfielder has had his most successful spell at a club.

During his seven years at Stamford Bridge, Cole won three Premier League medals, two FA Cups and a League Cup, while adding the Chelsea Player of the Year Award during the 2007-2008 season on an individual note.

The 56-capped former Three Lions international, a quick and technical player who was thought by another Blues great as underappreciated in England, was recently asked about who he considers as the best player he’s ever played with and having played for Chelsea at a time when the club started to dominate domestically, it felt safe to assume he would pick out someone he played with during that trophy-laden spell with the west London club.

However, the 37-year-old instead picked out current Blues ace Hazard, whom he played with during a loan spell at Ligue 1 club Lille in the 2011-2012 season, as the man he considers as his best ever teammate.

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“You look at all the English boys – Gerrard, Frank [Lampard], JT [John Terry], Rooney, Rio [Ferdinand]. Also the foreign players like [Arjen] Robben and Hazard… I could go on forever. You realise you’re playing with geniuses. If my life depended on it I would pick Hazard [as the best],” said the ex-midfielder. “He was 19 when I played with him in France and even then he was just so talented.

“He had everything. He’s just a great player. I think he’ll go on to win the Ballon d’Or, I really think he’s that good.”