Zinedine Zidane insists Eden Hazard is ready to ‘push on’ against his former side Chelsea as he claims injury-plagued star is fully fit and ‘not feeling any of his old problems’ ahead of first leg of Champions League semi-final
- Eden Hazard returned from injury in Real Madrid’s draw with Betis on Saturday
- Zinedine Zidane insists he is fully fit and no longer suffering from ‘old problems’
- Real boss believes the Belgian can now ‘push on’ against his old side Chelsea
- Raphael Varane has revealed that Hazard is ‘very motivated’ for the semi-final
- Zidane says Madrid must give their ‘best version’ in Champions League clash
Zinedine Zidane has backed Eden Hazard to play a major role against his old side Chelsea when Real Madrid take on Thomas Tuchel’s men in the Champions League.
The Belgian could start Tuesday’s semi-final first leg after returning from a muscle injury during Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Real Betis.
And Zidane, who has only been able to give Hazard 15 appearances all season amid a host of fitness issues, believes the £130million star is finally ready to ‘push on’ when his former club visit.
Zinedine Zidane has backed Eden Hazard (right) to ‘push on’ against Chelsea on Tuesday
‘I don’t see Eden having any doubts,’ Zidane said during a press conference on Monday morning.
‘He looked very good on the field the other day. That was the important thing, not feeling any of his old problems. Now he is good, and now to push on.
‘We are happy to have him with us, he will bring a lot to the team.’
Hazard has missed 22 matches through injury and illness so far this season, but his team-mate, Raphael Varane, says the former Chelsea favourite is determined to impress against his former team.
Hazard celebrates after scoring for Chelsea in the 2019 Europa League final against Arsenal
‘I have spoken with him, he is very motivated,’ Varane said of Hazard during his own press conference ahead of Tuesday’s first leg.
‘Playing a Champions semi-final encourages anyone, but if you play against your old club it is one more motivation.
‘He knows the club and the team we face very well. We know his qualities and the desire he has to help the team.’
Zidane also had his say on the challenge of facing Chelsea, who have impressed both domestically and in Europe since the arriving of Thomas Tuchel as manager.
Zidane could hand Hazard a rare start after he returned from a muscle injury on Saturday
‘It is the most difficult because it is the next one,’ Zidane said.
‘The Champions League is special, but we have had other very important ones. We are prepared and we want to play a good game. Competing, which is the most important thing for us.
‘It’s a semi-final, it’s going to be difficult. But I don’t think Chelsea is going to lock in.
‘They are a complete team, attacking and defending well. We must be focused and, when creating chances, we must have our best version to hurt Chelsea.
Zidane has described Chelsea as a ‘complete team’ ahead of their Champions League meeting
‘At present, Chelsea have done their job in the Champions League. It is a completely different game than what everyone has played so far.
‘Chelsea have experience in all competitions. We are going to have to play two very good games to pass.’
Zidane confirmed that Toni Kroos would be fit for Tuesday’s clash after missing the last three games, but Ferland Mendy is still missing with a calf problem.
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