Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has rejected Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho’s claim that Blues star Eden Hazard is alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the world’s top three.
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Hazard scored 19 goals in 52 games last season to help Chelsea win the Premier League and earn the Belgium forward the player of the year award from both fellow professionals and writers.
“Top players can decide the games with something special,” said Wenger, whose side face Chelsea in Sunday’s Community Shield. “Hazard is in this category. To reach the other two or three that are dominating world football at the moment I think it demands consistency, which he is still to do.”
Wenger also brushed off Mourinho’s suggestion that Arsenal’s spending had gone unrecognised despite the big-money signings of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Arsenal have spent around £90m net in the last five years, while Chelsea, who yesterday confirmed the departure of defender Felipe Luis to former club Atletico Madrid, have spent £188m, according to figures from Transfermarkt.
He added: “What you want is not to listen too much to what people say, because sometimes in the same week I get two different reproaches: one I don’t spend enough and one too much.”
“I believe if you want to create success, which we want desperately, is to focus on inside and try to do as well as we can, believe in the football we want to play, play as well as we can and let other people talk.”