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The Belgium international has returned to Zinedine Zidane’s plans after recovering from a thigh problem

Eden Hazard is back in contention for Real Madrid‘s clash with Granada after coming through his eighth injury absence in 16 months.

The Belgium international suffered a thigh problem at the end of last month in the shock 2-1 home defeat to Deportivo Alaves, lasting only 28 minutes on the pitch.

It was the latest in a string of fitness issues that have plagued Hazard since swapping Chelsea for Los Blancos ahead of the 2019-20 season.

On top of the three injury absences he has had to contend with this term, he was also ruled out for a chunk of November due to coronavirus.

He will hope to finally find some consistency and regular playing time starting with the visit of Diego Martinez’s in-form Granada on Wednesday – the Andalusians are unbeaten in five across all competitions.

Before Madrid announced the squad on Tuesday, Zinedine Zidane addressed Hazard’s mental state after such a difficult start to life at the club.

“So far, emotionally, it may not have been easy [for Hazard],” Zidane told reporters. “But now I see him well. You have to do things patiently, little by little.”

Hazard has played 19 times for Madrid in La Liga but scored only twice, while his assists tally is only marginally better at three.

Even when he has been fit, Hazard has struggled to live up to expectations – his 21 chances created hardly an outstanding figure.

Belgium team-mate Thomas Vermaelen nevertheless affirmed in a recent  Goal  interview that it was only a matter of time before Madrid saw his best form .

“Firstly, everybody is very quick to say that he’s got an injury. Injury-prone and that kind of stuff. I think he had a knock on his ankle and that’s not his fault. It must be a muscle injury. I think it’s not too bad,” he explained.

“For me personally he’s a world-class player, played against him in England. He will come back. He’s very positive. When he comes back and starts playing the game. You’ll see the best of him. I’m not worried about him. He’ll come back.” 

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December 22, 2020
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