Chelsea defender David Luiz claims that 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi has the ability to step up and replace Eden Hazard next season, after the Belgian confirmed he would be leaving the Blues.
Hazard has long been expected to complete a move to Real Madrid this summer, and following the Blues' 4-1 Europa League final victory over Arsenal - in which he scored twice - he confirmed his departure when he said his goodbyes.
With Chelsea facing a transfer ban next season, they will likely have to look for his replacement internally or in the loan market, and arguably the strongest option available is Hudson-Odoi, who made no secret about his desire for a bigger role in the team prior to the disruptive Achilles injury he suffered in late April.
In his breakthrough season under Maurizio Sarri, the youth academy graduate made 24 appearances, which came with increasing frequency towards the end of the season, and was directly involved in ten goals. He has been touted as the long-term replacement for Hazard, and according to Luiz, he has the ability to step into the talismanic winger's shoes.
Asked who could replace Hazard after the win in Baku, Luiz joked, as quoted by ESPN: "That's either Messi or Ronaldo. I think if he goes I just wish him all the best. He is a fantastic player, friend and guy. I've known him ever since he was here at so young. I am so happy for him because the world knows who Eden Hazard is.
"It is part of life. Some cycles finish, some cycles start. I think we have many many talents within the club to replace him.
"Callum is great. Callum has known this club since he was young and he has the talents to one day try to be like Eden. It is a new story for Callum. It didn't start so well because of the injury but it is time for him to improve in other sides [of his game]."
It is worth noting that Chelsea also have the arrival of Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic to look forward to, so although Hazard is now confirmed as leaving, it seems as if they will be well covered on the flanks in 2019/20.