Eden Hazard’s lengthy spell on the sidelines looks set to be extended with Real Madrid unwilling to take any unnecessary risks on the forward as he continues his rehabilitation.
The Belgian has already missed a month through injury having sustained an ankle knock at the back end of November, with fitness issues limiting Hazard to just eight La Liga appearances all season.
While having been initially handed a return date of January 8, when the Supercopa de Espana kicks off, that date has now been pushed back after Marca revealed the 28-year-old has yet to step foot on a pitch since he hobbled off with 20 minutes to go against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
While Hazard is desperate to return to action, Madrid are biding their time with his injury and have opted not to take any risks ahead of his return. Still only working in the gym, Los Blancos have deemed the Supercopa less important than both La Liga and the Champions League, thus pushing his return date back to late January or early February.
It is a blow for Zinedine Zidane’s men, who are due to take on Valencia in the semi-finals of the competition, but a blow the club ultimately feel is worth taking in order to see Hazard return unscathed.
His presence in the side has been sorely missed, at least in a creative sense, that is. Netting just eight goals in the six games played since his injury, in the previous six that Hazard took part in, Madrid scored 20. Hazard himself has only netted once in La Liga to date, but his influence on the rest of the team is unparalleled.
Zidane will want him back for their push to league glory, with Madrid only two points off Barcelona in La Liga having left Camp Nou with a more than credible point in their last league outing. Meanwhile, in Europe, Manchester City are next up in the round of 16 which kicks off on February 26 at the Bernabeu.