Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has lavished praise on his teammate Eden Hazard, claiming he is as important to Jose Mourinho's side as Lionel Messi for Barcelona.

The Belgium international star ended last season as the Blue's join top scorer in the Premier League ahead of the trio strikers Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba, scoring 14 goals in 35 appearances.

The 23-year-old star has kept up the sensational form during the first part of this season's campaign, having already netted six goals and grabbed seven assists in 20 appearances in all competitions.

The former Lille star has said a number of times he is working to replicate both Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo and four time Ballon D'or winner Messi – even though he admits he is yet reach that levels.

Ivanovic admits Hazard has still far to go to match Messi's achievement but believes that the Belgium star is as important for Chelsea as in the Argentinian maestro for Barcelona.

"Hazard is a quality player and he has the qualities to play even better. It's hard to say how close he is to Messi, when we know about all the records of Messi, but for us at Chelsea he is like Messi for Barcelona," Ivanovic told Four Four Two.

Meanwhile, the Serbian international defender has also heaped praise his manager Jose Mourinho, claiming it is a privilege to work under the Portuguese.

"They call him The Special One, but I like to refer to him as The Perfect One. His results speak for him.

"I think he is the most intelligent coach – he knows what he wants. He knows what to demand from the team and from an individual player, and he knows how to deal with stress situations and to relax the atmosphere.

"It's a pleasure and a privilege to work with him."