Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has spoken out against star winger Eden Hazard becoming more selfish, even though team-mate Cesc Fabregas believes the Belgian needs to focus more on himself to become as good as Barcelona's Lionel Messi.
Fabregas made the claim, per Metro's Evan Bartlett: "I've told him many, many times, he needs to be selfish sometimes and have that killer instinct to score more goals and then he will be whatever he wants to be."
However, Conte disagrees, per Allan Valente of Sky Sports: "The first target for every great champion is to play for the team and to put your talent in the team. I don't think that a player like Messi is a selfish player. The best players in the world don't exist without the team."
Conte even bemoaned the idea top players have to be selfish on the pitch to achieve greatness: "For me, it's sad when I listen to this, that one player must be more selfish to reach the top level. This is not my idea of football. I never will understand this. Never."
Greatness is something Fabregas believes Chelsea's No. 10 is destined for. In fact, the Spaniard thinks Hazard is already close to Messi in terms of raw talent, per Bartlett: "Ability wise, there is only one player above him and we all know who he is: Messi. Ability-wise he's up there with the best."
Yet Fabregas has emphasised his team-mate needs to be more of an individualist in the final third: "I've played with many players and sometimes when we have a counter attack and it's two against two and he passes the ball, I tell him: ‘You have the capability to score by yourself. Do it'."
Fabregas' point is well-taken considering what a plethora of goals can do for a player's standing in the modern game. There is little doubt Messi and his chief rival, Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, dominate the voting for football's major individual awards, such as the Ballon d'Or, because of their phenomenal scoring records.
Hazard recently found out how a lack of goals can impact a player come awards time when he saw Chelsea midfield man N'Golo Kante win the 2017 PFA Premier League Player of the Year gong, per BBC Sport:
BBC Sport @BBCSport
Congratulations N'Golo Kante. The Chelsea midfielder wins the PFA Player of the Year award. #PFAawards https://t.co/23HgREwWib2017-4-23 21:44:16
Kante has been an influential figure for the title-chasing Blues, but destructive qualities like his aren't often recognised at awards time. It's also true Hazard was unfortunate to miss out after scoring 14 times and providing five assists in England's top flight, per WhoScored.com.
Kante has been a solid force for Chelsea, but Hazard has been the catalyst in the final third, the true match-winner for these Blues. It's hard to believe he wouldn't have won an individual award with a few more goals on his stat sheet.
Still, Conte's adherence to football's team ethic is a commendable one, even if major success is only ever guaranteed by individual star power adding a flourish to a hard-working core.
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