Hazard's slow start reminds unconcerned Zidane of his Real Madrid introduction

By Ryan Benson 30 September 2019 43
Hazard's slow start reminds unconcerned Zidane of his Real Madrid introduction

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is unconcerned by Eden Hazard's stuttering start at the Santiago Bernabeu, insisting he went through similar after joining from Juventus in 2001.

Madrid set a new world record when spending an estimated €77.5million on Zidane, continuing president Florentino Perez's Galacticos era, as the club looked to routinely sign global superstars.

Zidane went on to become a club icon as he helped Madrid to Champions League success in his first season, though he feels he struggled to get up to speed during his early days, similarly during his spell at Juventus.

Hazard joined Madrid for an initial €100m during pre-season, only for a thigh injury suffered in August to prevent him from making his first start until the 3-0 Champions League defeat by Paris Saint-Germain .

He similarly failed to provide much inspiration against Sevilla and Atletico Madrid in his two matches since, although Zidane has no doubt the former Chelsea star will find his best again soon.

"I'm not going to give him some advice on how to play," Zidane told a news conference ahead of facing Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday.

"He knows we want more from him and we know the player he is, we have to be calm. I'm not worried at all, I know he will succeed here. We have to be calm with the players who have just arrived.

"The same thing happened to me, yes, but that's why I'm very calm. I knew it would work with time.

"It was worse when I arrived in Italy because it took me three months [to settle] there.

"The same with Hazard, I know he is going to succeed here and he is going to get settled. It has nothing to do with his physical condition. I would like [immediate improvement] for the team and for him, but we're calm."

It was also suggested to Zidane that he might rest captain Sergio Ramos given how much he has played this season, but the 33-year-old appears set to feature on Tuesday.

"No, he can play another one," Zidane said. "It's not that we don't have a replacement, but he's our captain and I don't see him out [of the team].

"It's true that he sometimes needs some rest, but not now."

Ramos missed the defeat to PSG after he completed a two-match suspension for deliberately collecting a booking during the first leg of last season's quarter-final against Ajax.

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