The Belgium international has enjoyed an impressive year for club and country, pushing on in the opening weeks of 2018-19 by contributing to five goals in five outings.
Hazard has been unable to force his way past Messi and recent Juventus acquisition Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or running, despite his consistent displays for Chelsea over the past six years, but Rudiger now ranks the Belgian forward above the latter in terms of all-round game.
"To stop him, you have to do it as a team, because alone ... good luck! But for me, the best in the world is Messi, then Hazard."
Messi and Ronaldo have won 10 Ballons d'Or between them over the past decade.