The United States international feels he still has a “way to go” before reaching the same level as the Real Madrid star
Christian Pulisic has played down the comparisons between himself and ex-Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard, insisting he is his “own player”.
Pulisic arrived at Stamford Bridge from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2019, shortly after Hazard completed his own big-money move to Real Madrid.
The United States international boasts many of the same attributes as Hazard, who he saw as a role model earlier in his career, but the 22-year-old is eager to carve out his own reputation at Chelsea rather than follow in the Belgian’s footsteps.
What’s been said?
Asked to address the similarities drawn between him and Hazard, Pulisic told a press conference on Monday: “He was an incredible player at this football club of course. I definitely looked up to him. I am not comparing myself to him in any way or trying to be like him.
“I am my own player, doing my best for this club. Obviously, he was a massive player for this club and obviously it is an honour to hear comparisons like that, but I still have a way to go.”
The former Dortmund star, who was speaking ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Madrid for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, was also asked if he feels the Blues have missed a match-winner like Hazard since his departure.
He said: “He was an incredible player who did a lot for this football club. We are moving on without him. I never played with him so I only know how it is without him.
“I think we are in a good place now. I mean we are in a semi-final of the Champions League, we have got a lot left to play for this season, so I think this team definitely has a good situation at the moment, so that’s a positive.”
Hazard and Pulisic compared
Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012 and went on to establish himself as one of the most deadly attacking players in European football.
The Belgium international helped the Blues win six trophies in total, including two league titles, scoring 110 goals in 352 appearances.
Pulisic hasn’t been able to live up to the same high standards during his first two seasons in west London, but has shown glimpses of the talent the convinced Chelsea to fork out £58 million ($81m) for his services. The American has scored 16 goals in 69 outings for the Blues to date, while also setting up a further 12 for his team-mates.
Pulisic’s injury woes
Injuries have played a key role in preventing Pulisic from building momentum at Chelsea, with the American having sat out 28 games in all competitions due to a variety of problems since his arrival from Dortmund.
A muscle issue hampered his form over the festive period, but he has gradually returned to full fitness since the return of the year and has started to deliver on a more consistent basis in the final third.
Asked if he finally trusts his body after a frustrating start at Chelsea, Pulisic said: “Yes, I feel very confident in my body and fitness level at the moment. I have played a string of games. I had some time out in the past year and a bit.
“It is really just about taking care of my body and putting myself in the best position to be available for every game. I feel good about that right now.”