Eden Hazard made his long-awaited return from injury in a cameo off the bench, offering a glimpse of an exciting resurgence
Eden Hazard impressed upon his return from injury with a brief cameo off the bench in Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Cadiz. The 31-year-old underwent surgery in late March to remove the osteosynthesis plate on his right fibula, which had been causing him a great deal of discomfort.
The Belgium international has struggled to acclimatise to life in La Liga since swapping Stamford Bridge for the Santiago Bernabeu in 2019, with various injuries halting his progress. Despite donning a superb injury record in west London, he’s suffered numerous muscle injuries, knocks, a hairline crack in his foot and abdominal influenza as well as being ruled out with coronavirus.
Though, when Hazard has been match fit, Carlo Ancelotti has often opted for Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo or Marco Ansenio to marshal the flanks. The Belgian’s succession of setbacks have seen him fall behind the pack and fail to build momentum, but the Real Madrid boss is keen to invest faith in the £9million-rated winger again.
Earlier this season, it emerged that Roman Abramovich was keen on bringing the Belgian back to Chelsea. The Russian billionaire is a keen believer that Hazard could rekindle his status as one of the best players in the world if he were to return to Stamford Bridge, according to El Nacional.
Speaking ahead of the Spanish giants’ penultimate fixture of the season, Ancelotti ruled out the prospect of Hazard returning to the Premier League the summer amid interest from a host of sides including Chelsea.
He said: “His plan is quite clear – he stays. He has a lot of motivation because he hasn’t had a good time these last few years and he wants to show all of his quality, which for many reasons he hasn’t been able to do.”
Hazard, who sees his contract at the Bernabeu expire in June 2024, has seemingly already repaid Ancelotti’s faith with his 25-minute display against Cadiz. The Belgian looked revitalised and offered glimpses of magic; he induced two fouls, completed three out of four dribbles, won five out of seven duels and created one big chance.
While he lacked sharpness, Hazard showcased shades of his fearless self that once warranted an eye-watering transfer fee. Prior to his injury, hesitancy hindered his ability to complete take-ons, though in his return the Belgian relished the opportunity to drive into space and try lavish flicks in transition.