Zinedine Zidane: 'Decisive' Eden Hazard 'Ready to Play' for Real Madrid vs. PSG

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 14: Eden Hazard of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Madrid v Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu on September 14, 2019 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane has hinted Eden Hazard could make his first competitive start for Real Madrid in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain. 

The Belgian, who signed for Real from Chelsea in June for an initial £89 million fee, missed the start of the 2019-20 La Liga season with a hamstring injury.

He played half an hour from the bench in Saturday's 3-2 victory over Levante.

And when Zidane was asked whether Hazard is ready to play 90 minutes in Real's opening Champions League game of the season at the Parc des Princes, the French manager said, per AS:

"You will see him tomorrow, but I think so. In the end he has had more training with the team, he is ready to play."

Zidane also talked up the long-term impact Hazard can have at the Santiago Bernabeu:

"I've always thought that he is decisive. He can make a difference. And he wants to prove that. He will be very important at Madrid. His future will be formidable."

Hazard, 28, has nominally been brought in to fill the gap left by Cristiano Ronaldo after his departure to Juventus in July 2018:

Having not adequately replaced the Portuguese superstar, Real struggled last season, finishing a distant third in La Liga and crashing out early in the Champions League and Copa del Rey. 

Santiago Solari and Julen Lopetegui were both jettisoned during the campaign, and Zidane was reappointed in March, 10 months on from his resignation following a third successive Champions League triumph.

Real have not started the new campaign spectacularly, and there has already been talk Zidane could find himself under pressure if upcoming fixtures don't go well:

The return to fitness of Hazard should be a big boost for Real and Zidane.

There is little chance he can replicate the consistency of goalscoring Ronaldo did during his time at the club as the former Manchester United star averaged 50 goals a season at the Bernabeu.

However, Hazard enjoyed his best season to date in 2018-19, providing both goals and assists at Chelsea:

Not only will his return provide Real with an added goal threat on the left flank, but Hazard should improve the attacking unit as a whole by providing the likes of Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez with more chances. 

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