Zinedine Zidane hopes Sergio Ramos and Lucas Vazquez's contracts with Real Madrid are "sorted out".

Ramos, 34, and Vazquez, 29, are both out of contract at the end of the season and their futures remain uncertain.

Reports suggest Ramos has turned down a one-year deal from Madrid, the club he arrived at in 2005.

Asked about Ramos and Vazquez possibly not signing contracts, Zidane told a news conference: "I don't want it but, in football, you never know.

"What I want and what we want you already know. You will ask me again at another press conference after the match and I will tell you the same thing. What I hope is that this will be sorted out, nothing more."

Madrid visit Osasuna in LaLiga on Saturday as they look to keep the pressure on Atletico, who are two points clear and have played two fewer games.

Eden Hazard's future is again a talking point at Madrid and the playmaker last started a league game in November.

But Zidane is unwilling to take risks with the 30-year-old, who has struggled with injuries since arriving at the club.

"He is with us. He is training regularly, then after that I don't know," he said.

"We will see if he is for 90 minutes or not and we will see how the pitch is. And for the next matches we will see the same, little by little."

Zinedine Zidane has no plans to rest Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema as he vowed slowly ease Eden Hazard back to full match fitness.

Benzema failed to register a single shot on goal in Madrid's 2-0 win over Celta Vigo in LaLiga on Saturday and twice missed the target from good positions.

The 33-year-old has started 15 of Madrid's 17 LaLiga matches this season and only goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Raphael Varane have played more minutes.

When asked in a post-match media conference if Benzema, who has scored eight goals in LaLiga, needed a break, following a slightly jaded showing, Zidane disagreed.

"I don’t think he’s tired," Zidane said.

"I think he did well and I took him off so that another player could play. We’re in a great spell. We’re doing the right things and we have to continue like this."

Hazard came off the bench for another run out late in the second half against Celta as he stepped up his return from an injury-hit start to the season.

"We are going to go little by little," added Zidane. "Little by little, you have to recover feelings.

"We have to take it slowly and not force anything. He has to get back to his best and take it slowly. That’s all it is."

Madrid's possession against Celta was 41 per cent which was the lowest recorded in a win under Zidane at home in all competitions.

The Madrid head coach was, however, satisfied with the manner in which his side were able to manage the game against Celta.

"We played a complete game from the beginning to the end," Zidane explained.

"We controlled the game well, we had a good balance, when it came to pressing up and getting the ball back, we did everything well.

"You have to control when the rival team has strong moments in the game, but the feelings are good, out of nine games we won six and three draws."

Goals from Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio gave Madrid the victory as the pair assisted each other in what was the fourth duo to combine between them in a single LaLiga game this season.

Zidane added: "I am happy for Asensio. He has had a major injury and now he is much better and improving every time.

"Vazquez is very reliable, very involved and I am happy for what he is doing. We played a very serious game. I'm happy for everyone."

Real Madrid went top of LaLiga for the first time since October after a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday thanks to goals from Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio.

Vazquez headed Madrid in front six minutes into the game and Asensio added a second after the break with a fine finish.

Celta rarely threatened Thibaut Courtois' goal as their six-game unbeaten run came to an end.

The result helped Zinedine Zidane's side move a point clear of city rivals Atletico Madrid, who will have the chance to return to the summit when they face Deportivo Alaves on Sunday.

Celta almost stole an early lead when Iago Aspas chased a ball behind the defence and chipped an effort over Courtois as he raced off his line, but Nacho chased back to hook it away.

From the resulting counterattack, Madrid went ahead when Asensio broke down the left and his cross picked out Vazquez, who headed in at the back post.

Celta's players claimed for a penalty after Jeison Murillo's volleyed effort struck Ferland Mendy, but the referee dismissed the visitors' appeals.

Madrid went close shortly before the break as Dani Carvajal saw an audacious volley from the edge of the box fly just past the post.

Zidane's side ruthlessly punished some sloppy Celta play soon after half-time, which allowed Vazquez to slide in Asensio to clinically fire past goalkeeper Ruben Blanco.

Fine play by Toni Kroos opened up the Celta defence again on the hour but Madrid captain Karim Benzema lost his footing at the critical moment and flashed his shot past the upright.

Madrid brought on Eden Hazard with 16 minutes left as the Belgian forward continued to build up his match fitness following a long-term injury.

Benzema squandered another late chance when he lifted a shot over the crossbar, while former Los Blancos youngster Miguel Baeza was denied at the death as Madrid saw the game out without conceding.

 

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said Eden Hazard needs time to return to his best and start games after making his return off the bench in Wednesday's draw with Elche.

Hazard was a substitute as LaLiga champions Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw at Elche midweek, having not featured for Los Blancos since injuring his thigh in November.

The Belgium international star, who was an unused substitute against Granada last week, was introduced with 13 minutes remaining and spurned a late chance for Madrid.

"[Eden Hazard] needs time, he needs game time as well and slowly but surely he'll be back in the starting 11," Zidane told reporters.

"I do think we should have scored a second goal in the first half because we played very well [against Elche] and we struggled more in the second half, but we have to keep working hard and moving forward in the same manner we have recently because there's still a lot to play for in LaLiga."

Madrid lost ground on city rivals and LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid after their five-game winning streak in the league came to an end.

Luka Modric had opened the scoring in the 20th minute with his first header for Madrid after 364 games across all competitions, before Fidel's penalty seven minutes into the second half levelled proceedings.

Spanish giants Madrid have hit the woodwork 18 times across all competitions this season, more than any other club in the top five European leagues.

Madrid are two points adrift of Atletico – who have two matches in hand – and Zidane added: "If you base things on how we've been playing recently, that this draw is possibly not as good a result.

"I think we had more than enough chances to get the second goal which would have allowed us to be much more calm on the ball. Their equaliser made the game much more difficult for us. They then sat a bit deeper and we struggled in the second half. But that's football. I can't really say anything else.

"We have to keep working hard. When you look at how we played in the first half this is two points lost but we have to keep looking forward."

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made his 100th appearance for the club in all competitions, with 77 of those coming in LaLiga.

"It's three points that have slipped away from us, but we mustn't feel too down because we've been on a very good run and are performing well," said Courtois, who made a late save to deny Elche a dramatic win.

"It wasn't down to being over-confident. They equalised through a penalty, they play some good stuff and defend with two very compact lines close to their box, which makes it difficult to create any sort of danger. We managed to fashion two or three chances that Edgar did well to keep out."

Eden Hazard will be eased back into action for Real Madrid in Wednesday's LaLiga trip to Elche, with boss Zinedine Zidane hinting he is ready to rotate his squad.

Belgium international Hazard has not featured for Madrid since injuring his thigh during the first half of the shock 2-1 home loss to Deportivo Alaves on November 28.

He was back in the squad for last Wednesday's 2-0 win over Granada, remaining an unused substitute for that game.

Zidane revealed after the victory - Madrid's sixth in a row in all competitions - that he was not willing to risk Hazard and will instead slowly work the forward back to full fitness.

After another week on the training ground, Hazard is now in contention to play a part against Elche at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero.

"He'll be there tomorrow and the plan is for him to play a little," Zidane said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"The other day we decided something different. He has been with the team for several days now and we're looking to make the most of that."

Hazard has played 19 times for Madrid in LaLiga since arriving in a big-money move from Chelsea in June 2019, scoring only twice and assisting three more.

Even when fit and available, the 29-year-old has struggled to live up to expectations - his 21 chances created hardly an outstanding figure.

That equates to 1.5 key passes per 90 minutes, which is some way off Real Betis winger Joaquin (2.69) and Barcelona star Lionel Messi (2.68) as LaLiga's most frequent creators among those to have played at least 16 times since the start of 2019-20.

Hazard faces a challenge holding down a spot in the side, however, with Zidane keeping changes to a minimum in terms of his starting line-up during Madrid's impressive winning run.

But with games against Elche and Celta Vigo to come in the space of four days, Zidane suggested he is open to giving some of his fringe players an opportunity to impress.

"There are a lot of professionals here and there are very competent people paying attention to that [the risk of injury]," he said. "We will never take a risk if we know that a player can get hurt.

"The general risk is there, because there are a lot of games and training sessions. But there are very good people here."

Asked specifically about left-back Marcelo and attacking midfielder Isco, who have started a combined eight league games this term, Zidane said: "I'm counting on all my players.

"All the players are training well. That's good news for a coach. They're very professional and I think they're training well.

"I'm happy to see all the players focused. They'll all have chances to play. All these players want to play. It's difficult to leave players out, but this is part of the coach's job and it's the bad part."

Reports from Spain suggest Luka Modric is close to agreeing a one-year contract extension with Madrid and Zidane reiterated he is hopeful Lucas Vazquez and skipper Sergio Ramos will also sign fresh terms.

"The debate is there and you know how I feel about these things," he said.

"We want all these players to stay here because they are the best. I want these things fixed and quickly, of course."

Madrid, level on points with league leaders Atletico Madrid having played two games more, have won their past eight LaLiga games against next opponents Elche.

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 LaLiga 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.

That equates to 1.5 key passes per 90 minutes, which is some way off Joaquin and Lionel Messi as the most frequent creators (among players to have featured at least 15 times since 2019-20 began) with 2.7 every 90 minutes.

 

Frank Lampard admits Olivier Giroud has given him "a really nice problem" as the France striker pushes for a regular Premier League start. 

Four goals against Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday showed Giroud can have a big part to play for Chelsea this season. 

Tammy Abraham has led the line for Chelsea recently in the Premier League, and it remains to be seen who Lampard turns to for Saturday's Stamford Bridge clash with Leeds United. 

Giroud has continued to contribute consistently for France, even when sidelined at Chelsea, and Lampard knows he has a player raring to be unleashed in the domestic competition. 

With the delayed Euro 2020 finals coming up next year, Giroud naturally wants to be as match sharp as possible, but Lampard cannot assure him of regular starts. 

"I don’t think it's a case of giving any players assurance of game time," Lampard said. "With the competitive squad we have, that's very difficult to do. 

"All you want when players are out of the team is to train well and get themselves in the team and perform like Oli did the other day. And, of course, that gives me nice problems as such. 

"Oli's always done that for me here, particularly at the back end of last season when he was playing as regularly as he's played at Chelsea in my time at the club. 

"So I'm happy with him. He's given me a really nice problem. His form is good. He's training well."

There has been speculation Giroud could leave Chelsea in January, but Lampard does not appear to be thinking along those lines. 

Yet he could not say with certainty that Giroud was happy in his current role. 

"I can't answer that for Oli. All I can say is that from my point of view, in that forward area I've competition for places," Lampard added. 

"Tammy Abraham has been playing very well for us this season. He's been scoring goals and making assists and he brings attributes. Olivier, like we saw the other day, brings his attributes, so that's great competition for me. 

"I can't give assurances and you'd have to ask Oli. I never see anything negative from Oli and I've got huge respect for him. 

"Playing the way he did the other night, clearly he's going to get opportunities to play for us because that was just a top-class performance all round." 

Giroud has only scored 13 goals in 63 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, although that goals-per-game rate is mitigated by the fact he was a substitute in 38 of those games. 

Where he comes into his own is winning balls in the air, often when taking on opposition defenders. Opta data shows he has won 135 of 235 such aerial challenges, compared to Abraham's 110 of 238 for Chelsea during Giroud's time at the club. 

Giroud might help his cause if he put away a higher percentage of chances that fall his way, though. 

In terms of opportunities defined by Opta as big chances, Giroud has converted just 29.17 per cent (seven of 24 big chances) in the Premier League since joining at the end of January 2018, while Abraham has scored from 31.43 per cent of such openings during the same period. 

Neither can hold a candle to former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard. Between Giroud joining and Hazard leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid at the end of the 2018-19 season, the Belgian found the net from 11 of 21 big chances in the Premier League for an impressive 52.38 per cent record. 

It may also make Chelsea's strikers blush that Hazard remains the club's top Premier League goal scorer for the period since Giroud arrived from Arsenal, with his 20 goals putting him two ahead of Abraham.

Zinedine Zidane has acknowledged Eden Hazard is experiencing a "hard time" but insists Real Madrid will do everything they can to help their record signing. 

The Belgium international has been blighted by ankle and leg problems since joining the Spanish giants from Chelsea nearly 18 months ago.

Last season he started just 14 games in LaLiga, playing a minor role as Madrid won the title in his first campaign at the club.

He has continued to struggle this term and suffered an injury to the rectus femoris muscle in his right thigh in just his third league start of the campaign against Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.

No timescale has been put on his return but he has not been named in Madrid's squad for Tuesday's Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Zidane said it is Madrid's responsibility to look after the 29-year-old and the Frenchman hopes the forward can return stronger than before. 

Asked at a media conference if Hazard might experience some psychological impact after yet another injury, Zidane responded: "No. Sometimes injuries happen and we have to endure. He is strong, I have no doubt. 

"He is having a hard time lately. We are going to help him to get better soon.

"It is a complicated situation for Eden. He has never been injured in his career and now has more misfortunes. He will surely come back stronger. We look forward to seeing him with us again."

Despite a largely indifferent Champions League campaign so far, which has seen them win just two of their four Group B games, Madrid can seal a last-16 spot for a record 24th time with victory against Shakhtar.

Luis Castro's side have failed to win any of their three games since beating Madrid on matchday one, but Zidane is preparing his players for what he describes as the most important game in the group. 

"It is up to us to get through," he said. "Tomorrow is another final, there are two left. It is surely the most important game because it can take us to another phase."

Since scoring the third goal in their 3-2 win over Madrid, Shakhtar have failed to score with each of their last 23 shots in the competition.

However, Los Blancos defender Nacho Fernandez still anticipates a challenging fixture in Kiev.

"We need to try to be much more attentive," he said. "They are a very fast team, very dynamic. We will try to get ahead on the scoreboard and be attentive defensively."

Eden Hazard suffered a thigh injury against Deportivo Alaves on Saturday, Real Madrid have confirmed.

The Belgium international has been blighted by ankle and leg problems since joining Zinedine Zidane's Spanish giants from Chelsea nearly 18 months ago.

It was not immediately clear what his latest problem was, with Hazard able to walk off the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano pitch – albeit in obvious discomfort – to be replaced by Rodrygo after 28 minutes of the game.

On Monday, though, Madrid confirmed he has sustained an injury to the rectus femoris muscle in his right thigh.

No timescale has been put on his return but he has not been named in Madrid's squad for Tuesday's Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Saturday was just Hazard's third top-flight appearance of the season, after previous outings against Villarreal and Huesca.

He scored in the 4-1 victory over Huesca but has failed to create a single chance for his team-mates in his 153 minutes on the pitch this term in LaLiga.

Last season he started just 14 games in the league, playing a minor role as Madrid won the title in his first campaign at the club.

Zinedine Zidane admitted Real Madrid produced an unacceptable performance as the reigning LaLiga champions slumped to another dismal defeat.

Cadiz, Shakhtar Donetsk and Valencia had already beaten Madrid this season, which is in its infancy, and Deportivo Alaves added their name to the list of surprise conquerors across all competitions thanks to a richly deserved 2-1 win on Saturday.

There were grumbles from the Madrid camp about decisions the VAR may have given them, with penalty claims from Eden Hazard and Marcelo failing to result in spot-kicks.

But Madrid head coach Zidane was clear in his mind that his team got what they deserved from the clash at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, where the Spanish giants lost for the third time in LaLiga this term.

The losses to Cadiz and Shakhtar also came at Madrid's temporary home, which they are using while the Santiago Bernabeu is being renovated.

They were pushovers for much of Saturday's game, with Lucas Perez and Joselu giving Alaves a 2-0 lead before a familiar late Madrid rally saw Casemiro net from close range and Isco hit the top of the bar.

Conceding the early penalty that Perez tucked away made Madrid's task especially challenging, but they repeatedly looked vulnerable to Alaves' energetic, fast-paced counter-attacks.

"When you start the game like that, everything is complicated. We haven't been focused," Zidane said, speaking on Movistar LaLiga.

"We are not going to look for excuses. We played a bad game. I am the coach and I am to blame.

"We have to turn the page. On Tuesday we have another game [against Shakhtar]. We will continue working. We are going to try to change the dynamics."

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois gave away the ball sloppily to gift Joselu the second for Alaves early in the second half, while Los Blancos suffered a blow when star winger Hazard had to come off just before the half-hour mark.

The former Chelsea player has been tormented by injuries in his Madrid career, but it appears that Hazard does not see his latest blow as anything serious.

"I hope and I think that Hazard's [injury] is a knock like he said and that it's not muscular," Zidane said.

Madrid sit fourth in the table, six points behind Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad, with their one consolation being that rivals Barcelona have started the season even more wretchedly.

Three defeats in their last five home games across all competitions is bleak form for Madrid, given they had only lost three of their previous 31 such games.

Casemiro said Alaves finished their chances better and praised the quality of Perez and Joselu, who were outstanding as a front pairing and went close several times to stretching the visitors' lead.

The Brazilian midfielder felt Madrid should have been better served by the match officials though, saying, according to AS: "Talking about the referee after the game is not the time, the VAR is there to help."

Real Madrid were stunned 2-1 by Deportivo Alaves and lost Eden Hazard to another injury as Zinedine Zidane witnessed a horror show from his team. 

Lucas Perez and Joselu struck as Madrid suffered a third defeat in their opening 10 LaLiga games this season, their title defence getting off to a rocky start. 

Madrid had played 15 previous home games against Alaves in LaLiga, winning 14 of those. They lost the other game, a 1-0 setback in May 2000, but the Santiago Bernabeu was a fortress that Alaves had found hard to crack. 

With Madrid in their temporary home of the Alfredo di Stefano stadium this season, it was a completely different story. Despite Casemiro grabbing a late consolation, coach Zidane was left to pick up the pieces from a worrying performance. 

Alaves were handed a fifth-minute penalty when Victor Laguardia's header struck Nacho on the upper arm, and Perez found the left corner with a confident strike from the spot. 

Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois then prevented a second goal, producing a sharp stop to palm away a chip from Perez who got in behind the Madrid defence. 

A hobbling Hazard, meanwhile, had to be substituted just before the half-hour mark, his wretched run of luck continuing. Moments earlier he had taken a fall in the Alaves penalty area. 

Toni Kroos was denied by a fine double save from Fernando Pacheco, after a shambolic attempt by Alaves to walk the ball out of defence from a goal kick. 

But Madrid were counting the cost of Kroos missing out as Alaves stretched their lead in the 49th minute. Courtois tried to pick a pass to Casemiro, but it was never on and Joselu stole in to intercept and side-foot into the empty net from 25 yards. 

Perez was denied by Courtois as the former Deportivo La Coruna and Arsenal striker again breached the home backline, before Joselu then sent a thumping drive just wide of the top left corner as the two goalscorers combined. 

Shots from Rodrygo and Lucas Vazquez went narrowly wide as Madrid sought a way back into the game. Casemiro netted from close range after 86 minutes but they could not force a late leveller, Isco going close when he clipped the top of the crossbar in the sixth minute of additional time.

Eden Hazard suffered fresh injury woe as the Real Madrid winger hobbled out of Saturday’s game against Deportivo Alaves. 

The Belgium international has been blighted by ankle and leg problems since joining Zinedine Zidane's Spanish giants from Chelsea 18 months ago. 

It was not immediately clear what his latest problem was, with Hazard able to walk off the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium pitch, albeit in obvious discomfort, to be replaced by Rodrygo after 28 minutes of the game. 

Hazard had gone down in the Alaves penalty area moments earlier, although it was ruled that no foul was committed. 

He was seen to grimace, stooping over after getting back to his feet and appearing to be in pain. 

It was just Hazard's third LaLiga appearance of the season, after previous outings against Villarreal and Huesca. 

Last season he started just 14 games in the Spanish top flight, playing just a minor role as Madrid won the LaLiga title in his first season at the club.

Inter are on the verge of exiting the Champions League after losing 2-0 to Real Madrid in Wednesday's clash at San Siro.

Madrid won the reverse fixture 3-2 earlier this month to revive their Group B campaign and they made a strong start to what was the first meeting between these sides at Inter's iconic ground since 1998.

Eden Hazard converted an early penalty - his first goal in the competition in three years - and Inter's task was made all the more difficult when Arturo Vidal was sent off for dissent with 33 minutes played.

Madrid added a second goal through substitute Rodrygo's volley to move a point behind Borussia Monchengladbach in second, with Inter five points worse off in fourth heading into the final two rounds of fixtures.

Zinedine Zidane saw cause for optimism in Real Madrid's draw at Villarreal on Saturday and had little interest in entertaining his critics.

Madrid returned to LaLiga action following the international break without key men Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema.

Looking to respond to a 4-1 defeat at Valencia last time out, the champions looked to have done enough to win as Mariano Diaz - starting for the first time in 18 months - netted after two minutes.

But Gerard Moreno's penalty after a Thibaut Courtois foul kept Madrid in fourth, three points behind early leaders Real Sociedad.

The goals were the only shots on target at either end, although Villarreal had 13 total attempts to Madrid's six. Zidane still felt his team deserved the points.

"I think we deserved more, considering what we did," he said. "Especially in the first half. We've dropped two points.

"I'm upset for the players because of the effort they gave. I felt we could have taken the three points today and that's a shame."

Zidane had acknowledged prior to the match that there was pressure at Madrid, but he defended his hopeful outlook despite another tough result.

"I keep looking forward," he said. "You continue with what you are doing and I with my work."

Other questions focused on three of his players: Mariano, who starred in Benzema's place, Eden Hazard, returning after contracting coronavirus, and Isco, appearing only as a 65th-minute substitute.

Mariano played 85 minutes, more than he had across all league matches combined since the start of last season (54), and scored with his only shot while creating two chances for team-mates.

He won three of his eight duels but could not see out the match, Zidane explained.

"The thing about Mariano is that he hadn't played for a long time," the coach said. "He was exhausted."

Hazard's display was slightly less impressive, failing to attempt a shot or play a key pass in over an hour.

"He's there. He played," Zidane said. "We need to manage the minutes well, but he's with us and he's good."

Isco likewise had no say in proceedings in an attacking sense and has still made only three LaLiga starts this term as he is linked with a January departure.

"What is happening inside will stay inside," his coach said. "Right now, Isco is a Real Madrid player and is with us. There's nothing to talk about."

Karim Benzema will miss Real Madrid's LaLiga visit to Villarreal on Saturday after failing to recover from an injury sustained against Valencia a fortnight ago. 

The 32-year-old was substituted in the 76th minute of the 4-1 defeat at Mestalla after experiencing pain in his left adductor.

He did take part in light training on Friday but Zinedine Zidane, perhaps with one eye on the Champions League clash with Inter on Wednesday, has not named him in the squad for this weekend's game.

Benzema is Madrid's top scorer in the league this season, with four goals in his eight appearances. He has also chipped in with three assists, the most of any Los Blancos player alongside Rodrygo. 

There is also no place in the squad for Luka Jovic, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday after returning from international duty with Serbia, while Casemiro and Eder Militao – who have been self-isolating following positive coronavirus tests before the international break – are also out. 

Sergio Ramos will also be absent after sustaining a hamstring injury in Spain's 6-0 win over Germany. The Madrid captain is expected to be sidelined for at least 10 days. 

The is better news regarding Eden Hazard, though, who has been named in the 20-man squad after he tested positive for COVID-19 before the Valencia defeat. 

Speaking at his pre-match media conference, Zidane did not want to dwell on the depleted nature of his squad, instead insisting the starting XI he chooses do not take anything for granted against Villarreal.

"What we have to do is be a group," he said. "You're talking about the game tomorrow and on Wednesday it is important for the Champions League, but all games are important, all of them.

"Every time we play, we have to do well. We can't relax, not even for one minute. The opponent demands a lot of you and we know that. We hope tomorrow we'll come out well."

Madrid are fourth in LaLiga, four points behind leaders Real Sociedad, who have played a game more. 

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