Eden Hazard is sidelined for Real Madrid’s clash with Manchester City due to a serious ankle injury. The Belgian had only just recovered from a significant lay-off and picked up the latest problem during Saturday’s surprise defeat to Levante.
Hazard was making only his second appearance since November in the 1-0 loss but sustained a hairline fracture to the same ankle which has troubled him all season.
The 29-year-old will definitely miss tonight’s meeting with City and Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane is uncertain whether Hazard will feature again this season.
Speaking after the defeat to Levante, Zidane said: “He loves playing football and while I can’t tell you what is in his eyes, I can see he is not happy.
“It’s important he stays positive but, of course, it’s difficult. It’s a bad moment, it won’t be easy and he will feel like that for a while.
JUST IN: Real Madrid star Eden Hazard ruled out of Man City and Barcelona matches with injury
“I do not know if he will have to go through an operation. It is not my area and I don’t know if his season is over, but I hope not.”
Zidane refused to be drawn on whether Hazard’s rehabilitation from his previous injury played a role in the latest setback.
“I am not the right person to say what should have been done or shouldn’t have,” said the Frenchman.
“They [the Real Madrid physic team] are professionals and very capable in their area.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Juventus star’s favourite position revealed by Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos
Raheem Sterling urged to quit Man City for Real Madrid and copy Cristiano Ronaldo decision
Man City star Raheem Sterling has sent Real Madrid transfer message to close friends
- Ronaldo, Mbappe, Bale, Salah among players fans most regret being sold
“We are not happy about Hazard’s injury, it comes at a bad moment. He wanted to play and help us but now he is out again, which is sad of course.
“I hope when he’s back again he is completely fit. That’s what everyone wants and that’s it.”
Hazard’s absence means Gareth Bale is in contention to return to the starting XI, having sat out at the weekend due to illness.
Isco could retain his spot on the opposite flank, although Vinicius Junior and Lucas Vazquez are further options but Rodrygo has not been included in the 19-man squad.
- Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man Utd top of net transfer spend table
Karim Benzema is almost certain to lead the line, having scored 18 goals across all competitions so far this season, while Luka Jovic will have to be content with a spot on the bench.
Federico Valverde could come back into midfield at the expense of Luka Modric but Casemiro and Toni Kroos are both expected to hold onto their starting berths.
Meanwhile, Ferland Mendy will hope to replace Marcelo at left-back but the rest of the rearguard should remain unchanged.
That means Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal will complete the back four while Thibaut Courtois will start between the sticks.
Eder Militao, Alphonse Areola and Diego Altube complete the matchday squad while James Rodriguez, Mariano and Nacho fail to make the cut.
Marco Asensio is still out with a serious knee injury and is yet to play a single minute this season.
City are waiting on the fitness of Raheem Sterling after a hamstring issue while Leroy Sane is closing in on a return but is unlikely to feature from the off.
Fernandinho is available after serving a suspension, and the Brazilian will have to be at his best if City are to stop a Real side that has been crowned European champions in four of the last six seasons.
Real Madrid predicted line-up vs Manchester City – Champions League
(4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Casemiro, Valverde, Kroos; Bale, Isco, Benzema
Source: Read Full Article