Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard needs to bolster his goals tally before he can be ranked alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho has said Hazard, who Wenger tried to sign before he joined Chelsea in 2012, had a better season last year than Ronaldo.
While Wenger confirmed he was an admirer of the playmaker who will be in opposition when his side play Chelsea in Sunday's Community Shield match at Wembley, he said that the 24-year-old has one area of his game to improve before he joins the game's elite.
He also said Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez could match Chelsea's star man following his successful first season in the Premier League, after the Chilean scored 16 goals last campaign -- two more than Hazard.
"It is all about opinions," Wenger said when he was asked for his views on the Chelsea midfielder who scored 14 Premier League goals last season.
"You have to compare the numbers. I must say players like Messi and Ronaldo still score 50 goals and that is exceptional.
"I don't like all these comparisons. Everybody always thinks their player is the best which I can understand, but [what] Sanchez did for the first year in the Premier League is absolutely exceptional. Hopefully he will not only repeat it, but grow again.
"He [Hazard] can decide the games and you put the top players in this kind of calibre when they can decide the games with something special. Hazard is in this category, now to reach the other two or three that are dominating world football at the moment I think it demands consistency which he is still to do."
Wenger went on to reflect that he was "a few million" pounds away from sealing the deal to sign Hazard from Lille three years ago, but he does not lament the failure to close out that signing as he is convinced his team are ready to challenge Chelsea for the top honours this season.
"We want to improve," Wenger added. "We know we will be better and we work very hard to better. It's difficult to know how much better our opponents will be. Everybody tries to be better. Let's not forget that Chelsea won the Premier League with a comfortable distance last year, so we have to make our way up.
"There was still a gap between them and the others but the desire is to improve and to move up there to fight for the championship. We know that many teams will be in that position. Let's start well and try to give our best."
Meanwhile, Wenger confirmed that he does not intend to allow defender Calum Chambers to go out on loan this season, despite reports linking him with a switch back to his former club Southampton.
"They [Southampton] didn't try to get him back on loan and I will not consider it. Not at the moment," Wenger added.
"I want to develop [Chambers] as a centre-back and at the moment we have just the right number. He will get games here."