Zinedine Zidane said he did not want to risk rushing Eden Hazard back into action as Real Madrid beat Granada 2-0, but indicated the forward will reclaim his place in the LaLiga champions’ starting line-up.
Hazard was an unused substitute as Madrid collected a sixth consecutive win in all competitions on Wednesday courtesy of goals from Casemiro and Karim Benzema.
That is despite Rodrygo Goes suffering a first-half injury, with Zidane choosing to send on Marco Asensio rather than the Belgium international.
A thigh injury sustained in November sidelined Hazard for three weeks before he returned to Zidane’s squad to face Granada, but the Los Blancos boss said afterwards that the 29-year-old’s return would be staggered.
“I did not consider it appropriate to put Hazard in because it was a difficult game, and that’s it,” Zidane told reporters.
“You have to do things in the moment and I didn’t want to risk it with Eden again.
“He’s fine, now we’ll get some rest. And Eden will gradually enter the team.”
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) December 23, 2020
Victory over Granada moved Madrid level on points with cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid at the top of LaLiga, having played two games more.
Zidane put his side’s recent return to form down to hard work while explaining that he anticipated the difficult first half that transpired against Granada.
“It was a very complicated match,” Zidane explained.
“We talked about it beforehand, it was going to be screwed up, complicated. The first half was very complicated, the second much better.
“Six games won in a row, it is not easy. We deserved the victory.
“The players know that there are complicated moments during the games but we have prepared them well and it is what we always have to do. We are going to lose games, but we will try to win them all.
“From time to time losing is inevitable, but we are happy for the six consecutive victories.”
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