Eden Hazard could return to first-team action at Real Madrid sooner than expected, according to Marca via the Brussels Times.
The Belgian was initially ruled out for up to four weeks with a thigh injury, which saw him miss Los Blancos’ opening day win against Celta Vigo on Sunday, but could now return to the fold for the club’s upcoming fixture against Villarreal on 1 September.
The 28-year-old’s injury is thought to be healing much better than expected, which will act as a huge boost for Madrid as they look to continue their unbeaten run in La Liga following the Celta Vigo victory.
Unfortunately, a return for this weekend’s visit of Valladolid will prove a step too far for Hazard, who joined the Men in White from Chelsea earlier this summer for £90m.
It is not just his club who will be delighted with Hazard’s seemingly speedy recovery, though, but his country. Belgium have two European qualifiers approaching in early-September against San Marino and Scotland, so need their talisman fit and ready to ensure they remain top of their Euro 2020 qualifying group.
He averaged more dribbles (3.7) per game than anyone in the Madrid squad last season (according to WhoScored) as well as more key passes (2.6) than anyone in the league so, if he can replicate those kind of numbers, will have a major effect on the club’s frontline.
Madrid coped well without Hazard in their La Liga curtain-raiser on Sunday, with Gareth Bale and Vinicius Junior tasked with operating on either flank in the Belgian’s absence.
However, manager Zinedine Zidane will surely be desperate for the former Lille midfielder to return sooner rather than later after the club spent so much money on him, with Madrid facing their first big challenge of the new campaign on 29 September, when they travel to fierce rivals Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
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