Eden Hazard was back in action for Real Madrid as they returned to La Liga action with a win, with Zinedine Zidane impressed to see the winger back.
The 29-year-old started in the game against Eibar at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Sunday evening with Madrid winning 3-1 to restore the two points gap between themselves and Barcelona.
Hazard has been out of action largely due to injuries since his last summer move from Chelsea for €100 million with reports his season was over after a fractured ankle in February.
However, the player took advantage of the break given as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and is back in full fitness as he provided Sergio Ramos with the assist for Los Blancos’ second goal.
The forward was taking off after 61 minutes having been on the receiving end of some hard tackles from the Eibar which had Zidane concerned.
“We knew Eden would lack a bit of rhythm to play the whole game. In the end, he played an hour and played well, too,” Zidane said. “They gave him a good knock, a scare, but that’s football. He said he was fine at the break, that he was glad he had been hit, and wasn’t afraid. He’s happy with what he did and we’re happy, also.”
Madrid almost saw their first half lead under threat after Eibar pulled one goal back through Pedro Biagas.
“It’s a completely different thing to what we were experiencing before. We have to adapt,” said Zidane. “We started the game well, but it was difficult in the second half. I don’t think it was physical, because we are well prepared. It was a bit of everything.
“I’ll take the first half – that was dominant. It’s an important win.
“Maybe we relaxed in the second. There was no one thing in particular. We had to make the changes: [Dani] Carvajal sprained his ankle, Ramos had discomfort too, Hazard because he hadn’t played for a long time… I don’t think it was the changes that made the game change.”
The manager also answered a question thrown at him with regards to Karim Benzema’s shape after the lockdown.
“I don’t know his diet, but Karim takes great care of himself, like most players,” said Zidane. “He’s happy to play again. I hope he keeps it up – we need him.
“It’s wonderful to see them communicate and I have to talk mostly about the second goal, which came from a pass from Eden to Ramos.”