Real Madrid have announced their squad for Tuesday night’s Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie against Liverpool.
That is despite the Belgium international and midfielder Fede Valverde being pictured taking part in training ahead of the Liverpool clash, suggesting they would be in contention to at least make the matchday squad.
But only one has been included in the 21-man squad alongside the likes of Karim Benzema, Isco, and Thibaut Courtois and it is not Hazard, who has endured a nightmare time with injuries since arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer of 2019.
In the hope of avoiding a potential setback and to perhaps keep Hazard fresh for next week’s second leg, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has explained his decision.
“Eden has to be calm,” he said at a press conference on Monday, prior to the announcement of the squad. “We never risk a player returning if he’s not ready.
“We’ll do things little by little and we’ll see when he’ll play again. That’s how it is at the moment.”
As a result of Hazard not being named in the squad, he will miss out on a reunion with former Chelsea teammate Mohamed Salah.
The pair played alongside each other briefly when the latter was at Stamford Bridge earlier on his career and he is well aware of the 30-year-old’s qualities – regardless of the injury problems.
“They’ve [Real] lost some great players, like Cristiano Ronaldo – the best in the club’s history, someone that scored so many goals,” Salah told Spanish publication Marca.
“At the same time, they’ve signed [Eden] Hazard. Eden’s been unlucky, he’s been injured.
“I can’t pick one [main danger], the majority of them are great players. Hazard. I have a great relationship with him, he did very well at Chelsea, but he’s not getting any luck at the moment.”
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Injuries have stopped Hazard from performing at his best for Real Madrid on a consistent basis.
Interestingly in January, as reported by Football Espana, a poll taken by Marca showed that a large section of fans believed he should be dropped from the starting XI or sold.
But with him fit again, there’s still time for him to win over those supporters and helping Los Blancos overcome Liverpool, if he plays any part next week, will be a good way to start.