Real Madrid had a tumultuous week, with their president Florentino Perez at the helm of the contentious European Super League proposals. The team will have to put those concerns aside when they face Real Betis at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano tonight. The match between Real Madrid and Real Betis is set to begin at 9:00 p.m. local time on Friday, April 24. (Saturday, April 25 at 12:30 AM IST).
Los Blancos are still in the LaLiga title chase, three points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and two points ahead of third-placed Barcelona despite having played one more game. With LaLiga nearing the end of the season, Zinedine Zidane's side cannot afford to lose any more points and will need to field their best players. With that in mind, it's worth asking: 'Is Eden Hazard playing tonight against Real Betis?' and what is a 'Eden Hazard injury update?'
Eden Hazard has struggled since moving to the Spanish capital, making just nine LaLiga appearances this season. Following an ankle injury, the Belgian star returned to training more than a week ago and has shown positive signs of recovery. Despite these encouraging signals, Hazard has suffered a series of setbacks leading up to recent games, delaying his return.
Zidane had hoped to see the winger in the Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool and then against Getafe, but it was not to be. Real Madrid supporters, on the other hand, would be pleased to learn that Hazard has progressed in his rehabilitation, as Zidane has named him to the squad for the match against Real Betis. Even if Hazard is unable to play tonight, he could be declared fit to face his former club Chelsea on Tuesday.
On Tuesday night, he will face his former club, LIVE on talkSPORT from 7.30pm, but will not be risked right away. “Eden Hazard will possibly not feature from the start,” Spanish football expert Phil Kitromilides told talkSPORT earlier.
“On Saturday, he came off the bench against Real Betis. His 13-minute cameo piqued everyone's interest. He seemed to be in decent shape. It's unlikely that he'll be able to start tonight.
“They'll use him off the bench as a super-sub because he looked very good against Real Betis. He hasn't played since 2021, so he should be prepared and inspired. But I couldn't see it from the start.”
Hazard has been injured eight times since joining Real Madrid, and he has only started three LaLiga games this season.
In his brief cameo against Real Betis, Kitromilides believes the 30-year-old looked like himself again.
“What was very noticeable about his success on the weekend, even though it was just 13 minutes, was that he seemed to regain the belief that had been lacking,” he said.
“He's had these injuries and he's come back, he's gotten hurt again, and it seemed to have an effect on his game.
“He didn't seem to have the ability to take on players, get stuck in, and go past guys, and it seemed to hinder his play.
“We noticed the old Eden Hazard was back over the weekend. He's been out for some time, and Zinedine Zidane said, "He'll come back when he's 100 percent fit and ready."
“They've held him back, held him back, held him back, and now it seems that he's almost 100 percent.”
On Saturday night, with 13 minutes remaining at Valdebebas, a man appeared who Chelsea fans will remember fondly and Real Madrid fans could fail to recall at all. Eden Hazard reappeared forty-one days later. It wasn't much – a quick run at the Betis defense that ended with a pass to Vincius Jnior when he should have taken a shot himself, a flash of the player he once was – but it was something, the Belgian fit again in time to face his former club.
“He had a lot of passion and a lot of spark. Zinedine Zidane, who was not the only one, said, "He had no pain and the feelings are strong." His return was dubbed a "shaft of sun" by the sports newspaper AS. Thibaut Courtois insisted after the game, a 0-0 draw that hurt Madrid's chances of winning the league and indicated their attention was drawn more to the Champions League. “He has been training with us for two or three weeks and he has looked really good,” the goalkeeper said. “From now until the end of the season, he will be crucial for us.”
There was only one issue with that decision: it had been made before, and it had always been in vain. Unlike Courtois, who overcame a rocky start in which he was acutely conscious that some in the dressing room did not warm to his arrival in place of Keylor Navas to become indispensable, Hazard has yet to make an impact for Madrid. To put it simply, he has been ineffective. He's always only been absent.
This wasn't an accident; it was a different kind of injury. The Belgian has had them all: thigh, calf, groin, ankle, and Covid. He's coming back from his fifth injury of the season. On Saturday, he played 13 minutes, which is an improvement over his previous performance of 15 minutes and then being ejected. “Something is going on. “I can't justify these things any longer,” Zidane had said, his words tinged with exasperation and fatalism, which should not have come as a surprise. “I just hope it won't be a big deal; I'm trying to stay positive.”
Hazard missed 18 games due to injury over his seven seasons at Chelsea, despite playing more than 30 league games per year. He has already missed 45 league games for Real Madrid. This season, he has only appeared three times in the Champions League; last year, the season was extended due to Covid, which offered him a second chance. They waited for him, took his spot, and returned it as soon as they could, so he could play in the last 16 against Manchester City. He had no effect because he was clearly unfit. This has been a recurrent theme as well.
Before Eden Hazard Real Madrid bought him, Zidane had long been a fan, naming him the player he most enjoyed watching after Cristiano Ronaldo. He said, a decade before he did, “I will take Eden with my eyes closed.” HLN, a Belgian newspaper, reported that he cost Madrid €160 million, not the €100 million the club said, despite the fact that he had just one year left on his Chelsea contract: with Hazard unable to force his way out, the Spanish club was forced to wait longer than expected, which is something they seldom do. He was given the number seven, which Ronaldo, Ral González, and Emilio Butragueo had previously worn.
Internazionale, Granada, Huesca, and Alavés have all conceded four goals. At Chelsea, the numbers are 13, 17, 19, 6, 17, 17, and 21. Hazard was named Player of the Year in England, but he hasn't played much in Spain. It's difficult to remember anything noteworthy in terms of playing. Since Madrid won the league last season largely without him and without the support of his supporters, it was rarely a state problem. He avoided the attacks that other players had faced, but the scrutiny and criticism grew as time went on.
Hazard confessed to being overweight when he arrived at Real Madrid in 2019, and his last two seasons can be seen in the light of Filipe Lus's suggestion that he lacks the desire to be the best, despite his obvious talent. The Brazilian defender addressed him as "Honey."
Courtois' vow that he would "explode" in the fall was met with cruel, predictable jokes.
Fundamentally, though, he has only been very unlucky, with two ankle injuries costing him almost six months of his life. Muscle injuries have resulted as a result. His Belgian national team doctor proposed that his body had reached its limit, that his "mental tension can be mirrored in his muscles," raising his risk of injury – an explanation Zidane rejected.
Hazard was always placed in by Zidane as soon as he could. At times, it seemed like he was waiting for the Belgian to arrive, which conditioned his planning and occupied his thoughts to the detriment of other players who had deserved more. After all, he had waited too long; he had been a long-time admirer.
There was no rush this time. Hazard's treatment was overseen by his own physicians and was gradual. The fact that he spent almost three weeks with the team before returning is eloquent, and it is likely that he will start against Chelsea on the bench. However, if there is a time, it is now.
“I don't know whether it would be with me or with another [coach] because he has a long-term contract, but I just want people to see him as a player,” Zidane said. “And that will happen,” says the narrator. Starting on Tuesday night would be a good idea.
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