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."
|I´ve played with Zidane and Henry, but Messi is something else – Pires|
|Dragons forward Jack de Belin charged with sexual assault|
|Durant: Raptors are the real deal|
|Cocu bids farewell to Fenerbahce after ´mutual agreement´ is made over October sacking|
|Australia unchanged for historic Perth Test|
|Champions League draw: The possible last-16 ties|
|Southee happy to be back on home soil|
|I wouldn´t swap Dembele for Neymar – Pires|
|Canelo ready to risk heavy weather against Fielding|
|Raptors upstage Warriors, Davis leads Pelicans with 44 points|
|India skipper Kohli excited by green Perth wicket|
|PSG? I haven´t decided my future yet – De Jong|
|Marcelo: Real Madrid don´t have attitude problem|
|India pair Ashwin, Rohit ruled out of second Test|
|Kovac: Ajax-Bayern draw was amazing|
|Sims re-signs with Dragons until 2022|
|Derrius Guice injury update: Redskins RB (knee) has rehab setback, undergoes 3 more procedures|
|Emery: Arsenal could sign defender in January|
|Phillies sign McCutchen to three-year deal|
|O´Neal thinks his Lakers teams could ´easily´ beat Warriors|
|A-League to add two clubs by 2020|
|Curry says he was ´obviously joking´ about moon landing comments|
|Now the beautiful part starts – Ronaldo ready for Champions League knockout stage|
|Bayern have a lot more potential – Lewandowski not satisfied despite top spot|
|Lyon star Fekir shares plaudits for Champions League progression|
|Mourinho not surprised by United´s defeat to Valencia|
|Motivation no issue for Benfica, claims Vitoria|
|Lewandowski finishes Champions League group stage as top scorer|
|Mourinho: We scored two goals and lost 2-1!|
|England have a diamond - Guardiola hails City´s Foden|
|Sterling´s carefree display invites us to love football more than others hate|
|Juventus achieved their objective, despite everything going wrong – Allegri|
|Never say never - Schmidt not ruling out All Blacks role|
|Bologna´s winning start ended in BCL|
|Di Francesco critical of Roma performance|
|Shakhtar Donetsk 1 Lyon 1: Fekir fires French side through in Group F|
|Benfica 1 AEK Athens 0: Grimaldo sends hosts out on a high|
|Young Boys 2 Juventus 1: Hoarau double seals famous victory|
|Manchester City 2 Hoffenheim 1: City through as group winners after Sane brace|
|Ajax 3 Bayern Munich 3: Kovac´s men clinch top spot in Amsterdam thriller|
|Valencia 2 Manchester United 1: Jones scores own goal as Red Devils limp through|
|Solari accepts responsibility for Madrid´s heaviest home defeat in Europe|
|WATCH: Rooney backs Rocky ahead of Canelo showdown|
|McLaren to collaborate with Team Bahrain Merida|
|Las Vegas to host 2020 NFL Draft|
|Stade teenager tragically dies after neck injury|
|Cahill may need to leave Chelsea if he wants to play, admits Sarri|
|Viktoria Plzen 2 Roma 1: Chory winner takes hosts into Europa League|
|Real Madrid 0 CSKA Moscow 3: Champions humiliated at Bernabeu|
|Sarri condemns ´disgusting´ Sterling abuse|
|Hansen hails outstanding Ben Smith ahead of Pau switch|
|Foden, Sterling start for Manchester City v Hoffenheim|
|Sky decision will not affect us in 2019, insist Froome and Thomas|
|Al Ain 3 Team Wellington 3 (aet, 4-3 on penalties): Shootout heartbreak for semi-pros in Club World|
|Jackson to remain Ravens´ starting QB despite Flacco return|
|Rams headline 2019 NFL International Series home teams|
|Rams headline International Series home teams for 2019|
|Atlanta want ´exciting football´ from new boss amid Bielsa links|
|Atlanta still yet to receive ´serious´ bid for ´Bale-like´ Almiron|
|Tottenham v Manchester United to be held at Wembley|
|Matip facing six weeks out with fractured collarbone|
|I´ve had quite a lot of calls – Brailsford encouraged by Team Sky interest|
|Afghanistan Football Federation president provisionally banned by FIFA|
|Knee injury rules Huddersfield´s Mooy out of Asian Cup|
|Arnautovic tipped for Man United move by Austria team-mate Sabitzer|
|Arsenal legend Adams to become RFL president|
|My love for football still burns strong – Toure speaks out amid talk of Premier League return|
|Noble contract extended to 2021|
|Split with Sky is an opportunity, says Brailsford|
|Van der Burgh rolls back the years, two more medals for Hosszu|