As Carlo Ancelotti and the press hinted, Eden Hazard made his long-awaited return to the Real Madrid squad for Sunday’s LaLiga fixture against Cadiz. The Belgian forward had been out for months after finally undergoing ankle surgery to help put an end to on-and-off injuries that had been holding back the more than 100 million euro transfer since the start of his debut season in Madrid in 2019.
Hazard is not someone Madridistas are counting on. They want him to succeed 100 percent, because they love him and he has shown the same love to the club lately despite the frustration nature of his injuries. Whenever Real are in a big Champions League game, he celebrates with everyone and support the young players, in particular.
Therefore, it was especially sweet to see Eden Hazard return before the title-winning LaLiga season closed. Better yet, Hazard was quite good in his first match back.
The statistics are accurate regarding the approximately 30 minutes Hazard played on the left wing against the notoriously physical Yellow Submarine.
Eden Hazard looked quicker than in the past
Hazard recorded three dribbles completed, drew two fouls, and made a key pass in about a half-hour of work at the Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla. He had an accurate cross and completed about 90 percent of his 19 pass attempts.
The two fouls he drew were both yellow cards on Cadiz, as they were tactical fouls in transition. One of them led to a dangerous free kick for Real Madrid. Even in the past when Hazard was not playing as well on the ball and looked slow, you could always count on him to draw fouls.
But in this game, Hazard’s fouls drawn had a different edge to them. He genuinely looked lively on the ball and athletic, not stagnant like in past matches. This may have been his best return match to date, in the sense that he looked spry. Hazard had one example of dribbling and close-control, as well as a turn, in which he looked like his Chelsea self.
Real Madrid fans know better than to get their hopes up. They do not want to see a flash in the pan. But this was a good start from Hazard and something the Belgian can build upon. Carlo Ancelotti has not given up on Hazard, contrary to the garbage narratives played out by people with agendas earlier this season. Ancelotti is not out to get Hazard; he wants to help recover the best version of him.
Although Real may want to move Hazard’s wages this summer, that is unlikely. It is more likely he will have to stay, which means it is important to make sure there is a role for him and a way for him to improve. Even if Real Madrid are able to send him somewhere else on a loan deal or permanent transfer, that may only happen if Hazard looks healthy and effective.
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This display was the first step to getting there. Though Hazard’s fans may try to tell you otherwise, the reality is that Real Madrid and Madridistas want Eden to be successful. So they will be cheering him on again next weekend vs. Real Betis.