Hazard to miss Athletic Bilbao clash as Zidane protects Real Madrid star

By Sports Desk July 04, 2020

Eden Hazard will sit out Real Madrid's LaLiga match with Athletic Bilbao as he is not fully fit, head coach Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday. 

The Belgium international sustained a heavy knock in the 1-0 win over Espanyol and missed the victory against Getafe on Thursday. 

Madrid could stretch their lead over Barcelona at the top of LaLiga to seven points if they win at Athletic on Sunday before the Catalans face Villarreal, but Zidane is not prepared to take any unnecessary risks with Hazard that could jeopardise his chances of finishing the season. 

"Eden's having a hard time these days and we don't want to risk anything, and he's the first [to agree]," Zidane said. "Hopefully, it's a small thing and we can see him again before the end of the league [season]. 

"He's been away for three or four days and I hope he'll get over it quickly. It's day to day; we don't know anything more than it's a strong blow. There are those who know, the doctors and the medics... they are very competent people. It was a blow against Espanyol and it's a matter of days." 

Hazard's first season at Madrid since a €100million move from Chelsea has been blighted by injuries, with the 29-year-old having only started 13 league games in 2019-20. 

"The Hazard thing is the sort of thing we don't want to happen, that's the worst thing for me," Zidane said. "It's not just me, there's a lot of people here to help the player. 

"For Eden, it's his first year and he wants to help the team. And when he can't do that, he's not happy. 

"I don't think he's afraid [of injuries]; what he wants is to be good enough to play. If he doesn't look 100 per cent, it's a problem for him and for everyone, because we love him to the max. 

"What I hope is that we'll soon get out of it." 

Related items

  • England manager Southgate keen to blunt JFF ambitions - countries set for battle over fringe players England manager Southgate keen to blunt JFF ambitions - countries set for battle over fringe players

    England manager Gareth Southgate is reportedly keen on blunting bold recruitment ambitions of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), who have targeted a number of players that qualify to play for the Caribbean nation.

    According to recent reports the JFF, through agent Devon Porter, has sought to make contact with a number of players that could qualify to represent the nation in the World Cup qualifiers, by virtue of having Jamaican parents or grandparents. 

    The list is said to include newly promoted Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, Everton's Mason Holgate, Manchester United's Mason Greenwood, and Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who were all born to Jamaican parents.

    The England manager has requested a meeting with four players born to Jamaican parents including Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips for Friday afternoon.  Southgate is, however, expected to meet with the players in order to assure them of the possibility of playing for their birth country.  The England national football program has been guilty in the past of giving fringe players one of two caps, in order to end the pursuit of other potential nations and never recall the players again. 

    Across England’s top four leagues there are said to be an estimated 124 players of Jamaican ancestry.  English-based Jamaican players played a crucial role in the country securing its only appearance at the FIFA World Cup in 1998.  The Jamaica team has already qualified for the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.  

  • Flick hails Lampard as Bayern aim to finish off Chelsea Flick hails Lampard as Bayern aim to finish off Chelsea

    Hansi Flick has praised Frank Lampard's "extraordinary" impact at Chelsea - but the Bayern Munich boss plans to leave his opposite number dejected for a second successive Saturday.

    Chelsea suffered FA Cup final disappointment last weekend when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's double gave Arsenal the glory at Wembley.

    Now they face the more daunting task of attempting to overturn a 3-0 first-leg deficit against Bayern in Munich, after the German giants scorched to a superb victory at Stamford Bridge in February.

    It would appear a near formality for Bayern to complete their task, but Flick has typically prepared meticulously for the game and says his team will have no trouble in focusing.

    He senses former England midfielder Lampard has the makings of a first-class head coach, so will take nothing for granted at the Allianz Arena.

    "I can say Lampard has been doing an extraordinary job with Chelsea," Flick said.

    "They've managed to qualify for next season's Champions League through the Premier League and they've been pretty successful after the restart.

    "I like the way they play and how they've performed."

    Lampard could not sign players when he took over at Chelsea last July, as the club were under a transfer ban, which has led him to blood a host of young players this term.

    By recently bringing in Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and Ajax's Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea have given an indication of their ambition for next season.

    "It was a difficult situation when he started," Flick said. "But at the end of the season he really performed an extraordinary season with his team."

    Bayern will be without the injured Kingsley Coman and Benjamin Pavard, with Joshua Kimmich expected to again fill in at right-back, with Ivan Perisic and Philippe Coutinho pushing for an attacking role.

    Flick, whose team won the domestic double of the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal, expects Chelsea to be positive and to believe they can turn the tie around, however unlikely that may be.

    "If I would be in the position of the Chelsea manager or Chelsea fan, I would say we have nothing to lose, we will try to give all we have and we'll see," Flick said.

    "We have respect for our opponents. We know Chelsea have a great and also big squad with lots of players who have fantastic potential.

    "I know from my time with the DFB [German Football Federation] how football is played in England.

    "If we look at the development that has been showing for years now, it is unbelievable, it is fantastic, how they bring up new, young players and focus on the youth.

    "Chelsea have a great team filled with a lot of young players with great potential and we will be ready to face them tomorrow."

  • Neuer wants Bayern midfield 'engine' Thiago to stay Neuer wants Bayern midfield 'engine' Thiago to stay

    Manuel Neuer hopes Liverpool target Thiago Alcantara can be persuaded to stay at Bayern Munich, describing him as "our engine in midfield".

    On the eve of the Champions League last-16 second leg against Chelsea, captain and goalkeeper Neuer stressed how important the former Barcelona player has become over seven years at Bayern.

    Thiago has one year left on his Bayern contract and the club would be reluctant to see him leave on a free transfer in 2021.

    One alternative to that prospect would be cashing in on him now, with Premier League champions Liverpool apparently keen on taking him to Anfield.

    Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has praised Thiago, describing him as "a great player", but has declined to speak any further about the Spaniard.

    Asked about the influence of Thiago, and the possibility of him being in his final days as a Bayern player, Neuer stressed he hoped the Chelsea game was not the beginning of the end for the 29-year-old in Munich.

    "I hope that it won't be one of the last matches of Thiago," Neuer said.

    "He had to undergo surgery at the end of the season but now he's back and 100 per cent. He's a very valuable player for us, especially in ball possession. He's very important for us. He's our engine in midfield actually."

    Bayern lead Chelsea 3-0 from the first leg of their European tie, so with home advantage on Saturday they should have little trouble making sure of a quarter-final place.

    Lisbon will stage the Champions League from the last eight onwards.

    Neuer says Bayern are eager to complete a treble, having already won the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal in Germany this season.

    "We have played a good season and a successful season so far," he said. "We're still hungry and still committed. We have the objective right in front of us.

    "We won the league, we won the cup, and now we want to win to achieve this next objective that we have.

    "First we have to overcome Chelsea and then it's the knockout stage. They are very high calibre clubs in this competition. We know from our experiences with the national team, for example, that every mistake could cost a lot and you have to really pay attention.

    "We've worked together very well for three and a half weeks and we want to achieve a lot."

    From the quarter-final stage onwards, it will be a straight knockout event, with two-leg games abandoned to allow the tournament to be completed in the shortest possible time.

    "You can achieve a lot, but of course you can also lose a lot in such a format," Neuer said.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.