Hazard eyes Ballon d’Or as he enjoys freedom under Conte

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The Belgium international appears to have returned to his brilliant best, following a virtuoso performance in the 5-0 win over Everton, and is now eyeing individual awards.

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Eden Hazard wants to be among the top five players in the world in the coming year, after failing to make the shortlist for the 2016 Ballon d’Or.

After scooping the PFA Player of the Year award as Chelsea won the Premier League title in 2014-15, Hazard’s form dipped dramatically amid the team’s struggles and Jose Mourinho’s departure last season, but the Belgian star appears to have returned to his brilliant best.

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Hazard scored twice in Chelsea’s 5-0 rout of Everton on Saturday, taking his Premier League tally to seven goals in 11 matches this term, having only netted four times in 2015-16.

And as he enjoys more freedom under Conte, the 25-year-old is targeting the world’s most prestigious individual award.

“Last season I was not good, so for me it was normal that I was not on the list,” Hazard said.

“But I want to come back on the list, and give everything to be on the list, not to be in the top 23 but to be in the top five.

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“Yes, I want to reach that level.”

“Last season was difficult for me. I tried to be the same player that I was two years ago,” he added.

“But now I am trying to play like when I was a kid. I am enjoying playing now, my position is a bit different from before, I go inside more. It gives me more freedom, and I’m good for the moment.

“Conte has not change a lot, it is just that I have a little bit more freedom when we have the ball and without the ball.

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“Because I don’t need to defend against the right-back, because Marcos Alonso is there. I just focus on staying in my position. And when I have the ball I have more freedom and I can go where I want to go, and be decisive.”

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