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HAZARD FITNESS UPDATE FROM ZIDANE
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has discussed Eden Hazard’s chances of facing Chelsea for the first time since leaving Stamford Bridge in 2019 when the two clubs meet tomorrow.
The Belgian, who became a Blues legend during his seven years here, has struggled with injuries this season, but returned as a substitute for Real Madrid in their 0-0 draw with Real Betis on Saturday.
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We meet the Spanish side in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals tomorrow evening and, ahead of that game, Zidane was asked about Hazard’s chances of featuring at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano in his press conference, revealing that Hazard got through that comeback without any issues around his injury.
HAZARD RETURNED AT THE WEEKEND AFTER SIX WEEKS OUT
‘He played for 15 or 20 minutes in the last game and it was quite good,’ said Zidane. ‘The most important thing was that he didn’t feel anything more to do with his problem. He’s doing quite well and now he’s with us, he’s happy to have played a game with us, because he’s going to contribute to the team a lot and he has to continue like that.’
Zidane was joined for that press conference by Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, who added that the chance to face Chelsea will provide an added motivation for Hazard to play a part in tomorrow’s game.
‘I talked to him, he’s quite motivated,’ said the French international. ‘To play in a Champions League semi-final motivates any football player and if you play against your former club, I believe that’s an extra motivation.
‘He knows the club and the team we are facing and he knows the quality he has and he wants to prove that on the pitch and to help the team.’
COURTOIS HAS BEEN A REGULAR FOR REAL MADRID THIS SEASON
Hazard isn’t the only Belgian who could be facing his former club when we take on Real Madrid, as they also have ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in their ranks.
Varane confirmed his belief that Courtois is an important player for Los Blancos, but insisted it will take every player defending together to keep the Blues forwards at bay.
‘Thibaut is having a great season,’ he added, ‘but when we defend we need the whole team. We always say that, but it’s because it is true.’
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