Captain Vincent Kompany scorned the suggestion that Eden Hazard has underperformed for Belgium, speaking to UEFA.com after the 5-0 Group B win against Cyprus.
Article top media content
*Click on the video player above to watch an interview with Thibaut Courtois
Belgium moved above Cyprus in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group B, collecting three points in Brussels in some comfort as Eden Hazard played a significant role by supplying a goal and an assist.
Fans in Belgium have complained that Hazard underperforms for the national team, but captain Vincent Kompany told UEFA.com that was anything but the case. "We have never seen a different Eden Hazard," he insisted. "People have opinions, but he has always been important to the squad, for his personality too. He is a great player, and when he plays like he did tonight, he is unstoppable. And he keeps getting stronger. The Eden Hazard of a year ago was still a young Eden; he is maturing and doing really well."
Kompany is a rival of Hazard's in the Premier League, and knows what a terrifying opponent he can be. "If you watch the games he plays, you can see his quality," the Manchester City FC defender said. "It is hard for any opponent to stop him, and he scores goals, like he did today. He is a really top-class player. Unfortunately, I cannot say I want him to win too many trophies, because we are league rivals, but he has had – and will continue to have – a great career."
On Saturday night, Kompany enjoyed having the Chelsea FC midfielder on his side, since the win against Cyprus means Belgium can join Group B leaders Wales on 11 points if they can win in Israel on Tuesday. "This victory is massive," Kompany said. "We really need this to get back in contention for first place, and we have done that. Now we need to do the same in Israel, and are totally focused on that already.
"We know they have a lot of good players, who are skilful and quick," he added. "They are a side that really can hurt you if you are not 100% focused. We know we can always push forward and score goals, but we are disciplined as well, and can defend if we have to. We will have to wait and see how it will work out, but I am sure we can cope with the task that lies ahead."