Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has defended Eden Hazard amid allegations of unprofessionalism in opposition to the Belgian, insisting his absence and minimal coaching had been down to additional warning off the back of a long-term ankle injury.
Hazard was accused of returning to Real coaching chubby earlier this month and was said to be two and even three weeks behind his teammates in phrases of health.
But the €100m winger is back in Real’s matchday squad for the first time this season ahead of the go to of Real Valladolid to the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.
“Hazard didn’t lack professionalism. He’s had a big issue. The ankle has bothered him for a long time. He’s the first who wants to be okay,” Zidane said at his pre-match media briefing.
By Zidane’s reckoning, Hazard is ‘very close’ to making his return to motion.
“He’s training with the team and the only thing is that we know he hasn’t trained much so far. He’s training regularly with us and he’s fine. Then we’ll look at how we’re going to do it. He wants to play and not to be bothered by it. That’s the most important thing because it’s a very long season.”
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Andriy Lunin, Diego Altube.
Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Alvaro Odriozola, Ferland Mendy.
Midfielders: Luka Modric, Casemiro, Fede Valverde, Martin Odegaard, Isco.
Forwards: Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Borja Mayoral, Lucas Vazquez, Luka Jovic, Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo.
Real have won and drawn their opening two La Liga games of 2020/21, amassing 4 points and leaving them seventh in a closely disjointed table owing to the numerous discrepancies within the number of games every club has been ready to play to this point.
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