Will Eden Hazard start for Real Madrid vs. Chelsea?

Real Madrid, Eden Hazard (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Eden Hazard (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images) /

A key question on the minds of many fans heading into the first leg of the Champions League semifinals between Real Madrid and Chelsea centers around one superstar player. Eden Hazard made his return from injury against Real Betis in the final 15 minutes of Los Blancos’ scoreless draw with Los Verdiblancos. And now fans want to know if he can start on Tuesday night.

For years, Hazard was the best player in the Premier League with Chelsea and remains beloved by their fanbase. His move to Real Madrid has not gone well, but through no fault of his own.

He’s had to deal with injury after injury ever since taking a challenge from PSG’s Thomas Meunier in the group stage of the 2019-2020 Champions League.

Madridistas hope that his successful cameo against Betis is something he can build on, but they also know the club must be exceedingly cautious with Hazard. They were cautious in the past, but even slight caution did not prevent future injuries.

Eden Hazard is not expected to start for Real Madrid vs. Chelsea

So now, Real Madrid must proceed with extreme hesitancy when it comes to adding more onto the 30-year-old’s plate.

As such, MARCA’s J.L. Calderon reports that Eden Hazard is not expected to start against his former employers this week at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

Calderon writes that Hazard will have “some part” to play in both legs, but adds that it’s possible we won’t see Hazard “at his best” until the 2021-2022 season.

There are a handful of games remaining in the La Liga campaign, as well as potentially three matches left in the Champions League season. That’s enough time for Hazard to boost Real Madrid as an X-Factor and even get in a start. But recall that Hazard has never played a full 90 minutes this season.

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The matches against Chelsea are important. There’s no doubt that the Blues are a great team under Thomas Tuchel. But it is best not to push Hazard too much. Expect to see him come off the bench, spelling Vinicius Junior, Marco Asensio, or Rodrygo Goes, depending on who starts. Vini seems like a lock on the left-hand side, and Hazard can come in to give Real a spark on either wing or even in a more “free” role.