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Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez
Zinedine Zidane has said he “can’t explain” Eden Hazard‘s latest injury setback but admitted “something is going on” after the forward was ruled out of Real Madrid‘s Champions League round-of-16 second leg clash with Atalanta.
“He won’t be in a condition to be with us,” Zidane said at a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s game. “I can’t say more. There are things I can’t explain… I hope, because I’m always positive, that it isn’t too much.”
“Something is going on. He’s a player who had never been injured in his career, or not many times. It’s new for him. I can’t explain more. We want him to be well, we want to help, and I hope he’ll be with us again soon.”
Real Madrid released a statement on Monday confirming that Hazard had sustained “an injury in the right psoas muscle.”
Hazard returned to training last Wednesday after missing the previous six weeks with a thigh problem.
The Belgium international has been beset with injury problems since signing for Madrid from Chelsea in the summer of 2019. He suffered two ankle fractures in his first season — which Hazard called “the worst of my career” — making just 16 league appearances and scoring one goal.
This campaign he has played in nine league games, being absent with another ankle injury, a hamstring strain and a thigh problem, as well as testing positive for COVID-19.
“The fans will have to wait,” Zidane added. “We know the player he is. We want to see Eden Hazard play — the club, the players, the coach, the staff — but right now he can’t do what he wants to do. We’ll be patient.”
Zidane also denied that Real Madrid’s medical staff are to blame for the team’s injury issues, calling them “very competent.”
“Eden hasn’t had a lot of luck since he arrived here,” teammate Karim Benzema said at the news conference. “It makes me a bit sad for him because everyone knows Eden is a top player. He wants to show that he’s a star. We’re here to help.”
Benzema also refused to speculate about a return to Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo — saying “I can’t say if I’ll come here, I’m not the coach or the president” — and was asked about reports linking Erling Haaland with a move to the Bernabeu.
“How can I talk about a player who isn’t at the club?” he said.
“I’ve been here for a lot of years. Every month they talk about other forwards. What I’ll say is he’s a good, young player who scores a lot of goals for [Borussia Dortmund]. He has to work more for his team and if one day he has the chance to come to Madrid, let him come here.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)