Real Madrid: Eden Hazard expected to face Celta Vigo?

Real Madrid star winger Eden Hazard has been out since late November with an ankle injury, but he could finally make his return to the starting lineup this week against Celta Vigo.

At first, Eden Hazard’s ankle injury was believed to be minor. Then he was expected to be out until El Derbi on Feb. 1. And then Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid without their star man.

Since then, Hazard has been week-to-week. He’s been consistently practicing with the rest of his teammates, but Real didn’t play him against Real Sociedad in their Copa del Rey quarterfinals loss or in Sunday’s massive 4-1 win at El Sadar against Osasuna.

Now, though, Hazard could be back. MARCA reports that the Belgian forward is expected to make his return on Sunday night at the Santiago Bernabeu when Real Madrid faces Celta Vigo.

Celta are currently 17th place in the league, with just two points separating them from Mallorca, Leganes, and Espanyol in the relegation zone. They are no threat to Real, especially at the Bernabeu, but as Mallorca taught Zinedine Zidane, there is no such thing as an easy game in 2019-2020 La Liga.

Real have wisely played things safe with Hazard’s ankle, knowing his importance to the team’s Champions League hopes.

With how much Barcelona and Atletico have struggled – Los Blancos have never lost to either team in three meetings during Hazard’s absence – Zidane can win La Liga without Hazard. But he probably can’t win the Champions League without the team’s best player.

Therefore, Real Madrid have to think about the Feb. 26 fixture against Manchester City when planning Hazard’s return.

They will want him to be 100 percent by that time, which means he needs to be rested and healthy. But they will also want him to be in game shape by then, which means he’d ideally get minutes against Celta Vigo or Levante – or, preferably, both. As we’ve seen with Gareth Bale this season, it can take time for even a star performer to shake off the rust.

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It’s great to hear that Eden Hazard is another step forward in his recovery and is expected to face Celta Vigo this Sunday. There are no guarantees, but the Bernabeu faithful will be ready to cheer their hearts out for the return of their top summer signing.

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