Eden Hazard believes compatriot Christian Benteke is capable of playing Champions League football and claims he would like to see the rejuvenated Aston Villa striker join him at Chelsea.
Despite having started the 2014/15 campaign rather poorly under Paul Lambert at Villa Park, the Belgian international's form improved sharply following Tim Sherwood's arrival in February and he finished the season on a prolific run of 12 goals in 13 games to help the club successfully stave off the threat of relegation and also reach their first FA Cup final since 2000.
Although his manager has already expressed a desire to see Benteke stay put this summer, the 24-year-old appears to be approaching something of a crossroads prior to the upcoming transfer window.
Reigning Premier League champions Chelsea – along with domestic rivals Liverpool and Manchester United – have been mentioned frequently in connection with the player as Jose Mourinho assesses his forward options in light of Didier Drogba's imminent exit and unsubstantiated reports regarding Diego Costa's current happiness.
While Radamel Falcao appears to remain a realistic option despite a disappointing season-long loan spell at Old Trafford last term, Hazard is enthusiastic regarding the potential to link-up with Benteke at Stamford Bridge.
"If Christian signs with us, I would be the happiest man in the world," he said as reported by Goal.
"I have a great relationship with him and would like nothing better than to play with him. Christian is 25. He is at an age where he has to make a good career choice.
"Not that Aston Villa is a small club but he has already played many great games and can now play in the Champions League."
Both Benteke, believed to be worth £32.5m ($49.6m) by virtue of a buy-out clause in his current Villa contract, and PFA player of the year Hazard feature in Marc Wilmots' latest Belgium squad ahead of tomorrow night's friendly clash with neighbours France in Paris.
The Red Devils, who currently top Group B following three victories from their last five competitive fixtures, then travel to the Millennium Stadium on 12 June for a vital Euro 2016 qualifier against closest challengers Wales.