Eden Hazard played like “he didn’t care” during Real Madrid’s 1-0 Copa del Rey victory over Cacereno, according to opponent Carmelo Mereciano.
Madrid secured their place in the round of 16 with a narrow win over their fourth-tier opponents on Tuesday, thanks to a superb 69th-minute strike from Rodrygo.
However, the performance of Hazard came under fire as he failed to register a shot or even a touch in Cacereno’s penalty area before he was hauled off by Carlo Ancelotti in the 68th minute.
Cacereno winger Mereciano was not impressed by the display of the former Belgium international, who signed for Madrid from Chelsea in 2019 for a reported €100 million fee.
“Hazard? It was like he didn’t care about the game,” Mereciano told AS. “He didn’t want to take the ball, he didn’t run.
“He was totally unnoticed.”
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) January 3, 2023
Hazard struggled to make an impact on what was a rare appearance for Madrid, having featured just seven times for Los Blancos in all competitions this season.
Ancelotti defended the 31-year-old after the match, partly blaming Cacereno’s poor pitch for his limited attacking output.
“You can’t play football [on Cacereno’s pitch],” Ancelotti told reporters. “I liked [Hazard].
“It’s difficult to evaluate players individually, it was impossible to play. Smaller players like Hazard or Rodrygo suffer more, but he delivered.”
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