sport news Hazard says it's time to shine after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were ...

Eden Hazard believes he is ready to take advantage of the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to press his own claims for football superstardom in Russia.

The Belgium and Chelsea player will captain his side against Japan in the last-16 in Rostov on Monday with a mission not only to make the quarter-finals but also to advance his own reputation as leader of his country's golden generation.

So when the winger was asked if he could step up to the plate with Messi and Ronaldo absent, he answered without hesitation.

Eden Hazard insists it's 'time to shine' without Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in Russia

Eden Hazard insists it's 'time to shine' without Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in Russia

Hazard and his Belgium team-mates take on Japan in the last-16 of the World Cup on Monday

Hazard and his Belgium team-mates take on Japan in the last-16 of the World Cup on Monday

He said: 'They are not in the World Cup so now it is time to shine. I want to go through the quarter-final, semi-final and maybe the final.

'I am not the only one of course. Messi and Ronaldo, they are out, but there are still a lot of good players at the World Cup. We will see at the end what happens.'

Hazard is clear, however, that he feels in a good place in terms of his own development despite what appeared to be a difficult season at club level.

'I am a lot stronger than two years ago - or four years ago in

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