Eden Hazard to miss Athletic Bilbao clash as Zinedine Zidane protects Real Madrid star

The Belgian will sit out his 2nd consecutive Liga clash after suffering yet another injury setback last week-end

Eden Hazard will sit out Real Madrid’s La Liga match with Athletic Bilbao as he is maybe not fully fit, head coach Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday. 

The Belgium international sustained a heavy knock in the 1-0 conquer Espanyol and missed the victory against Getafe on Thursday. 

Madrid could stretch their lead over Barcelona at the very top of LaLiga to seven points when they win at Athletic on Sunday prior to the Catalans face Villarreal, but Zidane isn’t prepared to take any unnecessary risks with Hazard that could jeopardise his chances of finishing the season. 

“Eden’s having a hard time nowadays and we don’t want to risk anything, and he’s the very first [to agree],” Zidane said. “Hopefully, it’s really a small thing and we are able to see him again prior to the end of the league [season]. 

“He’s been away for three or four days and I hope he’ll get over it quickly. It’s day to day; we don’t know anything more than it’s a strong blow. There are those who know, the doctors and the medics… they are very competent people. It was a blow against Espanyol and it’s a matter of days.” 

Hazard’s first season at Madrid since his €100 million move from Chelsea has been blighted by injuries, with the 29-year-old having only started 13 league games in 2019-20. 

“The Hazard thing is the sort of thing we don’t want to happen, that’s the worst thing for me,” Zidane said. “It’s not just me, there’s a lot of people here to help the ball player. 

“For Eden, it’s his first year and he wants to help the team. And when he cannot do that, he is not happy. 

“I don’t believe he’s afraid [of injuries]; what he wants is to be sufficient to play. If that he doesn’t look 100 %, it’s a problem for him and for everybody, because we love him to the max. 

“What I hope is that we’ll soon get out of it.” 

Los Blancos last won the title in 2016-17, all through Zidane’s previous spell responsible, and the top coach is taking nothing for granted despite their advantage at the summit.

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“The players know that it is a complicated, difficult, long competition, and that those who did it before show that they want to go for everything,” that he added.

“There isn’t any euphoria here because we’ve not won anything.

“There is work and commitment to do it well and try to win matches.”