The Chelsea winger has been in sensational form this season, scoring 14 goals in the league that has fired the Blues to the top of the table.
Hazard and N’Golo Kante were yesterday named in the six-man shortlist for PFA Player of the Year.
And while the latter is Keown’s tip for the prestigious award, the former Arsenal defender reckons Hazard is the Premier League’s closest player to reaching the level of Barcelona and Real Madrid’s top stars.
Martin Keown is a big fan of Chelsea star Eden Hazard PFA Player of the Year nominees 2017 Thu, April 13, 2017
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Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
He [Hazard] is getting close to Ronaldo, Messi, Bale and Neymar’s level. He is the Premier League’s nearest thing to those players.
“Kante is now the benchmark for central midfielders. He is like an extra player in the way he makes sure his team are not outnumbered in every area of the pitch,” Keown told the Daily Mail.
“Just look at the ground he covers. Chelsea versus Tottenham is a mouthwatering FA Cup semi-final but Kante means that Spurs will effectively have to face 12 men!
“Kante is my choice for Player of the Year but Hazard can count himself unlucky this year.
N'Golo Kante is Martin Keown's choice for PFA Player of the Year PFA Young Player of the Year nominees 2017 Thu, April 13, 2017
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Express Sport brings you the Men's PFA Young Player of the Year nominees 2017
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Dele Alli (Tottenham)
“He is getting close to Ronaldo, Messi, Bale and Neymar’s level. He is the Premier League’s nearest thing to those players.
“I love his change of pace. Hazard moves so quickly that his opponents do not have a chance to work out what he has done.”