Eden Hazard currently rivals Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as one of the best players in the world and Chelsea cannot consider selling him to Real Madrid, according to former caretaker boss Ray Wilkins.

Following months of speculation linking him with a move to the Bernabeu, Marca claimed in December that Real had ceased interest in the Belgium international due to the emergence of Marco Asensio.

Hazard, 27, appears destined to remain at Chelsea for the long-term with multiple reports – including from The Independent – suggesting he is on the brink of agreeing fresh terms worth £300,000-a-week.

The ex-Lille winger also suggested last month that he was ready to commit his future to the Premier League champions after fellow-countryman Thibaut Courtois agrees a new contract.

With 15 goals and nine assists in 36 appearances in all competitions, Hazard has endured an up and down campaign which began in September due to a broken ankle suffered in training in the summer.

But nevertheless, Wilkins wants Chelsea to retain the 2014-15 PFA Player of the Year, who he believes is among the clutch of players who can claim to be the best in the world.

"He is sensational, that is him," he said in an interview on Sky Sports News. "You have special players and Hazard is one of those. He has come into our league and he is something special. He's short, he's got a low centre of gravity, he beats people for fun and he scores goals.

"I am a season-ticket holder at Chelsea and to watch him play has been something exceptional over the last couple of years. I couldn't even lace his boots.

"I couldn't even think of it [Hazard moving to Real] to be honest. He was sublime against West Brom, every time he picked the ball up you thought something was going to happen.

"I felt for Alan [Pardew] and his [West Bromwich Albion] side the other night because he was something very different. When you look at the Belgium side going to the World Cup they must have half a chance with the talent they've got.

"We've got to keep Hazard at Stamford Bridge. People pay a lot to watch Chelsea play and you've got to keep the best players, and Hazard is one of the best.

"He's one of the best in the world. You've got special players who can change games in a flash. You've Ronaldo, you've got Messi and you've got Hazard who can change a game like that. He's a joy to watch."

Eden Hazard
Hazard scored twice in the win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday [12 February]. Getty Images