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."
|Great Britain and Argentina handed Davis Cup wildcards|
|Strong start key for European skipper Bjorn|
|Schmiedlova ousts former Tashkent champion Hibino|
|Mourinho and Pogba in frosty training ground exchange|
|Ashworth to leave FA for Brighton job|
|Gillespie backs Finch for Test success|
|Woods and Mickelson pairing ´not too likely´ - Furyk|
|Pogba v Mourinho: Who should stay and who should go at Manchester United?|
|Rahm better than I was at my first Ryder Cup, says McIlroy|
|Erdogan claims double standards in Ozil controversy|
|F1 Raceweek: Mercedes eye five in a row in Sochi – Russian GP in numbers|
|Rose: Stature doesn´t win Ryder Cup points|
|Sonny Bill Williams fit to face Pumas - Crotty|
|Exuberant Rahm expecting to be paired with calming influence|
|I´ve proved myself over and over - Garcia|
|Ocon negotiating with Williams for 2019|
|Kvitova´s Wuhan quest ended by Pavlyuchenkova|
|Hummels impressed by ´incredible´ Sanches|
|Brewers benefit from Pirates´ trade deadline acquisition of Archer|
|Barty upsets Kerber in Wuhan|
|England could still pick Cipriani despite training camp snub|
|Astros become first defending champions to reach 100 wins since 1990 Athletics|
|Wilder waiting for ´real offer´ to fight Joshua|
|LeBron focusing on patience after first Lakers practice|
|Pochettino expects Spurs in new stadium by Christmas|
|Inzaghi: With Ronaldo, Juve are best team in Europe|
|Some people talk too much – Icardi hits back at critics|
|Kovac, Robben praise Augsburg after draw|
|Angels star Ohtani to undergo Tommy John surgery|
|Simeone tips Gimenez to be fit for Madrid derby|
|Smith on his NBA Finals miscue: People make mistakes all the time|
|Rams CB Talib to have ankle surgery|
|Cousins ´feeling a lot better´, still unsure when he´ll return|
|I knew we´d be in trouble with Jones on penalties – Mourinho|
|Coyotes forward Galchenyuk expected to miss opener|
|Guardiola won´t compare Foden to Iniesta|
|Lampard shell-shocked as Derby win at Old Trafford|
|Ryder Cup 2018: USA celebrities take the honours|
|Manchester United´s torrid penalty shoot-out run continues against Derby|
|Guardiola: Foden already a great, great player|
|Atletico Madrid 3 Huesca 0: Rojiblancos cruise ahead of Madrid derby|
|EFL Cup: Lampard dumps out Mourinho, Burnley lose at Burton Albion|
|Mourinho denies Pogba row despite stripping midfielder of vice-captaincy|
|Fabinho situation not complicated, insists Klopp|
|Manchester United 2 Derby County 2 (Derby win 8-7 on pens): Lampard heaps pressure on Mourinho|
|Afghanistan snatch tie after Shahzad pummels India|
|Inter 2 Fiorentina 1: D´Ambrosio maintains Nerazzurri revival|
|Oxford United 0 Manchester City 3: Foden stars as EFL Cup holders cruise into round four|
|Cousin takes Gabon post after Aubameyang rejection|
|Bayern Munich 1 Augsburg 1: Neuer error costs champions|
|Paris Saint-Germain must be a Champions League force to help Neymar - Baptista|
|Salgado warns of ´war´ in Spanish football|
|Cech deserves Arsenal place, says Seaman|
|Halep and Garcia among seeds to fall in Wuhan|
|F1 Raceweek: Mercedes taking no comfort in points advantage|
|Benitez charged by FA for referee comment relating to Zaha treatment|
|Cibulkova dumps out hampered Halep in Wuhan|
|Mourinho questions his players amid reports Pogba won´t captain United again|
|European Ryder Cup diary: Fleetwood´s hair delights Poulter|
|USA Ryder Cup diary: Tiger´s roaring reception, McEnroe´s bold prediction|
|Loans to be limited under new FIFA proposal|
|Prolific Nadolo signs new Montpellier contract|
|Modric? For us, Messi is the best – Valverde|
|Murray makes winning start in Shenzhen|
|Mickelson would cherish first victory on European soil|
|Hodge hoping pressure proves too much for South Africa|
|Woodward in show of support for under-fire Mourinho|
|Mickelson jokes he wants ´a shot a side´ from Tiger in Thanksgiving showdown|
|Reed: Captain America is a villain in Europe|
|Duminy to captain Proteas as Elgar replaces injured Amla|