Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane admits he is unsure when Eden Hazard will return to the squad after his latest injury set-back, and says the player is ‘not happy’ after his hopes of a comeback were dashed.
The Belgian’s move to the Bernabeu has been a struggle despite arriving from Chelsea for £130m as he scored just once last season before being sidelined with a troublesome ankle problem.
Hazard came under fire for reportedly arriving back at pre-season out of shape, but had been making good progress towards a return and was tipped to feature against Real Valladolid on Wednesday night before picking up a leg muscle injury in training.
Los Blancos scraped a 1-0 win without Hazard, and after the game Zidane was unable to shed any light on how long he would be without the winger, admitting the 29-year-old was ‘upset’.
‘I can’t tell you how long it’ll be. He picked up a bit of a knock in training before the game,’ he told the media.
‘It looked like a muscle spasm but in the end it turned out to be a bit more than that. It’s something muscular. It’s nothing to do with the injury he’s had and these things happen.’
The Spanish press had drummed up Hazard’s possible return after his disastrous season last term and billed the 2020-21 campaign as his ‘second try’ having failed to justify his huge transfer fee, but Zidane insisted the club must be patient with him.
‘He’s been out for a long time,’ he added. ‘I don’t think this one will be long but I can’t tell you exactly. He’s upset because he was all right. We talked about it at the press conference before the match, but he’s had a setback and these things can happen.
‘He’s not happy, he knows that it’s not a big thing and we have to take it easy with him. It’s a question of little time, I’m sure.’
Hazard has faced criticism from the media in Spain, who slammed his decision to go on Belgium duty last month instead of continuing his rehabilitation.
And despite reports he had turned up overweight at Real Madrid’s camp this summer, Zidane has insisted the player ‘didn’t lack professionalism’.
Vinicius Jr scored the only goal against Real Valladolid as Madrid won their second game of the season having beaten Real Betis 3-2 last time out.