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Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe has labelled Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard the best player he has faced this calendar year.  

The duo crossed paths in the World Cup semi-final between France and Belgium, and the teenage sensation admits he was in awe of Hazard.

How good was Hazard in 2018? Five things to know…

  1. Played a chief role as Belgium finished third in the World Cup.
  2. Clinched the World Cup ‘Silver Ball’ and ‘top assist provider’ accolades.
  3. Recently placed eighth in the Ballon d’Or running.
  4. Has so far completed more dribbles (124) than any player in Premier League in 2018.
  5. Has recently received praise from Joe ColeOlivier Giroud and Xherdan Shaqiri for footballing brilliance.

Hazard has made a lightning start to the season under summer appointment Maurizio Sarri, scoring seven league goals and registering five assists as the Blues sit third.

But it has not been Hazard’s exploits at club level that have caught the eye of Mbappe. The Frenchman received a first-hand experience of his trickery on the wing in Russia, and he was astonished.

“I was amazed by his speed of execution, he is the player I played against this year impressed me the most,” Mbappe told France Football (via the Daily Mail).

“With Belgium, in the semi-finals, he was impressive while still respecting the game.

“When he has to pass the ball because the game commands it, he does so without any qualms. It’s a devil.

“I was sometimes (he smiles) five meters away from him, and I was amazed by his speed of execution, with the ball sticking to his foot all the time, his permanent information with his head still down.

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“There is no space he does not see.”

Inaugural Trophee Kopa winner

It was not just the Ballon d’Or up for grabs in the French capital on Monday night; the first instalment of the Trophee Kopa award was also handed out.

Mbappe clinched the first ever award for his exploits with both club and country; helping the Parisians to a plethora of titles including Ligue 1, the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue.

Alongside his domestic success, the 19-year-old also played a crucial role in Didier Deschamps’s starting XI as Les Bleus triumphed in Russia with the nation’s second World Cup.

The award is aptly named after former French and Real Madrid great Raymond Kopa, and the winner of the award is also selected by former Ballon d’Or winners for the best under-21 player in Europe.

Mbappe has continued to impress at the Parc des Princes this season, so far scoring 12 goals in eight league starts, as well as four in this season’s Coupe de France and two in the Champions League.

Next up for Thomas Tuchel and Co is an away trip to Strasbourg on Wednesday night.

The post Kylian Mbappe names Eden Hazard as his toughest opponent of 2018 appeared first on Squawka News.

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