Eden Hazard knows he must shine in matches like Chelsea's Champions League last-16 showdown with Barcelona on Tuesday if he wants to be considered in the same bracket as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Hazard starred in Chelsea's 2014-15 and 2016-17 title-winning campaigns in the Premier League, but there is a lingering sense that Europe's top competition is yet to see the best of the Belgium playmaker.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of Barcelona's visit to Stamford Bridge, Hazard reminded reporters of his fine displays in the group stage against Atletico Madrid this season, but knows where he stands in the overall pecking order.
"I played again Messi once in the World Cup against Argentina and we lost the game. I hope tomorrow is going to be different," said the 27-year-old, recalling Belgium's disappointment at Brazil 2014.
"It's good to be compared with the greatest ever, Messi or Ronaldo, but I'm completely different.
"We play in a different league. I try to do my job and try to reach their level, because they are the best in the world. Every season I try and do my best.
"When we play these kind of games, we need to perform. If you want to be one of the best, you have to play well in the big games.
"Every game I try and play my best football. Every week in the Premier League. Last year we didn't play Champions League, but this year we are back and I played a few good games – Atletico Madrid away, Roma, here against Madrid.
"You want to shine when you play the best in the world. If I want to reach that level, I need to do a great game tomorrow."
Final preparations at Cobham this afternoon! pic.twitter.com/JrRk8Te6dY— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 19, 2018
Not for the first time, recent transfer speculation has linked Hazard with a move to Barcelona's sworn rivals Real Madrid at the end of this season.
The player himself insists he is happy at Chelsea and, if he is Madrid-bound, his effusive praise for Barca – repeatedly calling them one of the best teams in the world – was arguably ill-advised.
"First, I see the game tomorrow. We are going to face Barca," he replied when asked about Los Blancos.
"I have played for Chelsea for now six years. I'm just happy here. Like you say, I have two years left on my contract.
"I'm happy here, my family is happy here. Now I'm just focused on the game [and until] the end of the season.
"I don't think much about the future because you never know what happens in the future, but I'm just happy here."
|Fenerbahce part ways with Kocaman|
|Celtics forward Hayward expected to be fully cleared by August|
|Nationals acquire closer Herrera from Royals|
|Angels star Ohtani to be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks|
|Crisis club Sporting appoint Mihaljovic|
|Fekir could still join Liverpool this summer - agent|
|Brathwaithe and weather thwart Sri Lanka|
|Southgate bemused by England-Tunisia penalty decisions|
|Kane disappointed by refereeing decisions despite England win|
|Koepka backed by coach to win more majors|
|Rybarikova ousts Pliskova in Birmingham, seeds fail in Mallorca|
|Kane: England players had flies in our mouths|
|Lemar signs Atletico deal|
|Griezmann renews Atletico Madrid contract after rejecting Barcelona|
|Captain Kane comes good to heighten England´s aura of optimism|
|Wawrinka and Cilic cruise through at Queen´s|
|Saudi Arabia team safe after aircraft´s ´technical failure´|
|Courtois: Panama made unnecessary tackles|
|Thiem makes winning start on Halle grass|
|Tunisia 1 England 2: Captain Kane saves Three Lions|
|Trotz resigns as Capitals coach after Stanley Cup win|
|You´ll see the best of Hazard later - Eden predicts strong World Cup|
|Mickelson made statement over ´outrageous´ conditions, says Cowen|
|France will grow again - former coach Saint-Andre sees positive signs for Les Bleus|
|Lewandowski sets an example - Nawalka talks up Poland star|
|Runners and Ryders: Koepka shines at Shinnecock Hills as European list sees major changes|
|Mature and patient Belgium show success could be on horizon|
|Salah facing fitness test ahead of Russia v Egypt|
|South Korea´s Park has suspected hamstring tear|
|Sweden hero Granqvist full of praise for VAR|
|Iran v Spain: Isco impressed with Hierro´s seamless adaptation|
|Belgium 3 Panama 0: Mertens magic sets up Group G win|
|Jorginho has ´five-year Man City deal waiting´|
|Wolves sign Portugal goalkeeper Patricio|
|Pekerman criticises Barcelona´s treatment of Yerry Mina|
|Neymar misses Brazil World Cup training|
|FIFA opens disciplinary proceedings over alleged Mexico homophobic chants|
|Cisse hoping to be a pioneer for black and African coaches|
|World Cup over for Croatia´s Kalinic|
|Defiant Jones confident of upturn in England fortunes|
|Pogba a natural leader for France - Matuidi|
|Frampton to face Jackson as Fury continues comeback in Belfast|
|Team effort needed for Japan to stop James, says Nishino|
|Di Francesco extends Roma contract|
|It was a normal challenge - Switzerland equaliser fine by Shaqiri|
|Hamilton hopes to avoid ´boring´ French Grand Prix|
|Coutinho expects more Neymar punishment at World Cup|
|Cisse hails Mane as ´one of the best players in the world´|
|Forsberg falls flat as Granqvist proves Sweden´s hero|
|Sweden 1 South Korea 0: Granqvist´s VAR-assisted penalty settles tight game|
|Nishino concerned Japan players affected by Osaka earthquake|
|Isco pleased with Lopetegui´s Real Madrid appointment|
|Hazard hints at Real Madrid interest|
|Wasps disappointed as Wilson joins Scotland backroom staff|
|Hierro has full confidence in De Gea|
|Russia will stop Salah - Cherchesov|
|Allen signs new four-year Stoke contract|
|England issue update over injured duo Stokes and Woakes|
|Mancini leaves door open for Buffon´s Italy return|
|Alli calls for England to be ruthless in World Cup opener|
|Tahir rested as Proteas call up uncapped duo|
|Uruguay v Saudi Arabia: Centurion Suarez seeks World Cup redemption|
|Portugal v Morocco: Hat-trick hero Ronaldo hunts stricken Atlas Lions|
|Argentina didn´t draw because of Messi´s missed penalty - Maradona|
|Wenger heaps praise on France star Kante|
|If VAR helps referees, I´m not against that – Australia´s Sainsbury|
|Kimmich questions Germany mentality after shock defeat|
|Roberts to leave Warrington Wolves|
|Australia talent Arzani ready to make the jump from A-League|
|Lewandowski: I can be at the top until I´m 35|