Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta says Eden Hazard’s return to form is “like a new signing” for the club.
Hazard was named the double Footballer of the Year last season as the Blues went on to win the Premier League, but the Belgian winger has struggled to recapture that form this term.
However, after Jose Mourinho was sacked as boss in December, the 25-year-old has begun to improve under interim manager Guus Hiddink.
He scored his first goal of the season in the FA Cup fourth-round win at MK Dons and added a second with a free-kick against Manchester City as Chelsea reached the quarter-finals.
And Spanish full-back Azpilicueta believes Hazard, who has been linked with a summer move to Real Madrid, is a “big player” for the club.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Azpilicueta said: “Playing like this, Eden is like a new signing for us. Eden is a big player and we need him.
“We are a much stronger squad if we have Eden playing at his best and have a better chance to get good results.
“It is better to have Eden in his best form now than at the start of the season. It is at the end of a season when you are playing for trophies and we will try to win the two we are in.”
Chelsea trail Paris St Germain 2-1 after the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie and face Everton at Goodison Park in the FA Cup.
“It’s a tough draw but when you reach the last eight you know any game will be difficult,” added Azpilicueta.
“We are a much better team now than when we lost to Everton. Obviously, we will try to take the improvements we have made into the tie and try to keep going all the way to Wembley.”