Antonio Conte tells Chelsea players: ‘I can make you as good as Messi or Ronaldo’

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Antonio Conte has promised Chelsea’s players that they can become some of the best in the world if they listen to him and buy into his management.

There is an anticipation that the Italian tactician can turn the Blues into a Premier League force again after Italy’s impressive showing at Euro 2016.

But, to do that, Conte will need Chelsea’s top talents back at their best after a 2015-16 season in which many of them seriously dropped their standards.

Eden Hazard was perhaps the biggest culprit of this, failing to score a league goal until April the campaign after he was named PFA Player of the Year.

And Conte’s call to arms, when he hinted that he could become a Ballon d’Or contender under his guidance, seemed to be directed at the Belgian in particular.

“I think Chelsea have players who can become top, top, top players,” Conte is quoted by Sky Sports as saying: “I think that these players can still improve a lot with work.

“We have players, fantastic players, who have great talent but in this moment the world doesn’t think they are the same level as Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo or Paul Pogba.

“But I think that in our squad there are players who, with work, can improve a lot and reach this level. I’m sure about this. It’s important the players understand this.

“There is the ability to work, to prove and to show that, now I am a top player, but I want to become top, top, top player and I want to stay there.

“This is important. The mentality is important. The heart is important, patience and the will to improve is very important and in this case it’s important for the manager to take the best players and try to improve them.”

Chelsea lost their first game of the Conte era on Saturday night as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to Austrian side Rapid Vienna, without several of their Euro 2016 stars.

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