Eden Hazard believes Lille winning Ligue 1 this season would be a greater achievement than when he inspired the club to a domestic double a decade ago.
Belgium star Hazard enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2010-11 when Lille won Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France.
He left for Chelsea after the following season, when he retained the Ligue 1 Player of the Year crown, but has kept a keen eye on Les Dogues ever since, having joined the club at 14 and progressed through the youth ranks.
“I owe almost everything to Lille,” he said in an interview with the club’s official website.
“If I am here today, it is partly thanks to the people I met in the north [of France], to the coaches, but also to all those whom I was able to meet during these years.
“They all have a part in my success.”
Christophe Galtier’s current vintage will wrap up an improbable Ligue 1 success this weekend if they are able to match Paris Saint-Germain’s result.
PSG are away at relegation-threatened Brest, while Lille travel to mid-table Angers, although last weekend’s frustrating 0-0 draw against Saint-Etienne has done plenty to set nerves jangling – their advantage at the summit trimmed to a solitary point.
Bolstered by the lavish wealth of their Qatari owners, PSG have won seven of the past eight French titles, with Monaco’s success in 2016-17 the outlier.
“Honestly, if [Lille] are champions this season, it would be even better than us in 2011, because there is now the Qatar version of PSG, which makes this championship even more difficult to win,” Hazard added.
“The supporters deserve it. When we won this double, they had to wait over 50 years to see the club lift a trophy. And in this complicated period, it would be good for everyone.
“The people of the north deserve it and especially the players.”