Eden Hazard Expected to Return from Ankle Injury for Real Madrid vs. Celta Vigo

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIFebruary 10, 2020

Eden Hazard of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on November 26, 2019 in Madrid, Spain(Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)
ANP Sport/Getty Images

Eden Hazard is reportedly set to make his long-awaited return to first-team action from an ankle injury in Sunday's La Liga clash with Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Belgium international has been sidelined since November's 2-2 UEFA Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain but is expected to be included in the squad for Sunday's match, according to Marca's Juan Ignacio Garcia-Ochoa.

Manager Zinedine Zidane does not want to take any risks with Hazard but could start him on the bench and bring him on in the second half, per the report.

The 29-year-old joined Real Madrid from Chelsea in summer 2019 but has seen his time in the Spanish capital disrupted by injury. The Belgium international has made just seven La Liga starts and has scored just once for Los Blancos.

He returned to training after suffering a hairline fracture in his foot at the end of January but is still waiting to make his first appearance of 2020:

Real Madrid have coped well without their summer signing. Zidane's men have leapfrogged Barcelona in La Liga and are currently three points clear at the top of the table.

The club are also on a strong run of form and are unbeaten in the league since going down 1-0 to Real Mallorca in October:

Zidane left Hazard out of his squad for Sunday's 4-1 win over Osasuna and explained why in his post-match press conference.

"It's something we agreed on together. Today wasn't the right time [for Hazard to return from injury] and this week we'll see. He's going to need this week, which is going to be a long week [of training, with Real Madrid not back in action until next Sunday]. Hopefully we'll see him back next week."

Yet Real Madrid will want to see Hazard return soon with some crucial fixtures on the horizon. The club play Celta Vigo and Levante in La Liga and then take on Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League last 16.

The club also face a top-of-the-table clash with Barcelona at the start of March, a game which could go some way to deciding the destination of the 2019-20 title.

Zidane does have plenty of other attacking options in his squad with Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Lucas Vazquez, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Luka Jovic all fit and available.

However, the return of Hazard would be an additional boost to the team and increase their chances of glory in La Liga and the Champions League as they approach the business end of the season.

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