Eden Hazard was delighted to score a "beautiful goal" for Real Madrid after a year-long drought as Emilio Butragueno hailed the forward as "magnificent".

Hazard blasted home with his weaker foot from nearly 30 yards out to give the Spanish champions the lead over Huesca on Saturday.

Zinedine Zidane's men eased to a 4-1 victory that moved them back to the top of the table, with Karim Benzema scoring twice and Federico Valverde also on the scoresheet.

It was Hazard's strike that will be best remembered, though, as it ended a wait of 392 days for just his second goal for Madrid since joining from Chelsea for an initial €100million in 2019.

Hazard was beaming as he recorded a short video message for fans that was posted on Twitter by Madrid after the match.

"Hi, guys! I'm just happy to be back on a pitch, [and] score a beautiful goal," he said.

"That's for you. I hope to see you soon."

Hazard did not create a chance for team-mates or produce a cross in his hour on the pitch against Huesca, but his link-up play with Benzema was encouraging throughout and one such move led to Valverde's emphatic third goal.

Real's director of institutional relations, Butragueno, was thrilled with the performance of the Belgium star.

"What Hazard did was magnificent. We saw that in the first goal," he told Movistar. "It gives you an idea of the category of player we're talking about.

"From then on, the team felt more comfortable. Being effective up top helps the game to go how you want it to.

"He has had back luck since he came due to injuries. He's a winner and what he wants is to be out on the pitch and helping the team. Hopefully, we can have him like this because he makes the difference."

Eden Hazard scored his first Real Madrid goal for more than a year as the LaLiga champions eased to a 4-1 win over Huesca.

Making his first league appearance of the season, the Belgium star opened the scoring in brilliant fashion before Karim Benzema doubled the lead at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

Federico Valverde scored the third after some fine interplay between Benzema and Hazard, who looked sharp throughout his hour on the pitch, before David Ferreiro's consolation.

Much of the pre-game talk had centred on Benzema and a recording of him appearing to tell Ferland Mendy not to pass to Vinicius Junior during the Champions League draw with Borussia Monchengladbach, and the striker should have scored his side's fourth when teed up by substitute Vinicius in what would have capped an improved Madrid display.

Benzema eventually got his second in the 90th minute, nodding in from Rodrygo's header across goal.

An obstinate Huesca kept Madrid at bay for much of the first half, although Sergio Ramos – making his 500th appearance in LaLiga – saw a header saved by Andres Fernandez.

The breakthrough came 40 minutes, as Hazard produced a moment of true brilliance too rarely seen in a Madrid shirt, rolling away from Kelechi Nwakali's challenge and blasting a left-footed shot beyond Fernandez from nearly 30 yards out.

Benzema doubled the lead just before the interval, chesting down Lucas Vazquez's deep cross before drilling a finish into the bottom-right corner.

Huesca started the second positively but the threat of a comeback was quashed 53 minutes in. After Hazard and Benzema had combined superbly down the left, the latter crossed for Valverde to take a touch and hammer home from 12 yards.

Benzema and Isco missed chances for a fourth before Ferreiro scored a consolation, steering a finish past Thibaut Courtois from Rafa Mir's cross, but Benzema had the final word when he turned in Rodrygo's header from point-blank range.

What does it mean? Hazard looks sharp again as Madrid return to top

The victory moved Madrid back to the summit of LaLiga, two points clear of Real Sociedad after seven games each.

It also marked an impressive return to form for Hazard and Zinedine Zidane's side as a whole, as they once again followed up a disappointing performance in Europe with a much-improved domestic display.

Huesca, one of just two sides without a LaLiga win this season, are 18th after eight games.

Hazard levels rising

This was not a virtuoso Hazard performance: he created zero chances for team-mates, produced no crosses and only had one shot on target.

However, that solitary strike earned him his first goal in 392 days and seemed to breathe some life into his link-up with Benzema. Zidane will be encouraged.

Right-back worries

Auxiliary right-back Lucas Vazquez was taken off after 52 minutes and did not seem to be wholly comfortable. Given injuries to Dani Carvajal and Nacho, any further concerns in that position will be most unwelcome to Zidane.

What's next?

Madrid host Inter in the Champions League on Tuesday before next Sunday's visit to Mestalla to meet Valencia. Huesca have a week off until they host Eibar.

Eden Hazard is in line to feature again against Huesca on Saturday as Real Madrid focus fully on LaLiga, despite their Champions League concerns. 

Former Chelsea winger Hazard played for the first time this season as he appeared off the bench in Tuesday's 2-2 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach. 

The Belgium international is looking to kick on after an underwhelming first campaign in Spain in which he scored just once in 16 LaLiga matches, missing four big chances. 

Hazard passed up another big chance against Gladbach and failed to create an opportunity in a 20-minute cameo, though he was on the pitch for both Madrid goals, later saying he was "very happy" simply to play. 

That joy is shared by Zinedine Zidane, who said on Friday: "Hazard is fine now. We are happy. His feelings are good. Everything is positive. 

"The idea is that Hazard is with us. Then we will see how we manage his minutes. The important thing is that he is well and well prepared." 

Despite the late rally, the Gladbach draw was especially disappointing after Madrid appeared to get their season back on track in the Clasico, winning at Barcelona following back-to-back home defeats. 

One of those losses came against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, meaning Zidane's men sit bottom of Group B ahead of two games against Inter. 

That European campaign was not of concern to Zidane prior to facing Huesca, though, with the reigning LaLiga champions a point behind table-topping Real Sociedad with a game in hand. 

"The final we have is tomorrow," the Frenchman said. "There is no such thing as thinking about Tuesday. 

"We have to think about the day-to-day. The players are aware of that, too. Tomorrow, period. The final is tomorrow." 

And following the revelation from Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu this week, Madrid may soon have another competition on the agenda. 

As he announced his resignation, Bartomeu claimed Barca had agreed to join a European 'super league' after talks with a number of other elite clubs. 

"I have enough [to think about] with the many games we have," Zidane responded when asked about a potential super league. "We hardly have rest. 

"With everything that is happening, tomorrow could be the last game. We will see when there will be another competition."

Eden Hazard relished his return to action on Tuesday as he turned out for Real Madrid for the first time since early August in the 2-2 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Winger Hazard appeared off the bench for the final 20 minutes of the Champions League clash in Germany after recovering from a muscle injury in his right leg sustained at the end of September.

That issue was the latest in a series of setbacks for the Belgium international, who has struggled since signing from Chelsea for €100million in June 2019.

Hazard, who had 16 goals in 37 games in his final Premier League season, scored just once in 16 LaLiga matches last term, missing four big chances.

The former Lille star's creativity was also greatly reduced, assisting only three goals in the league for Madrid compared to 15 the previous campaign with Chelsea.

He laid on 1.7 chances per 90 minutes across his first season in Spain, down from 3.0 in the prior term.

But Hazard was simply happy to be back on the pitch against Gladbach, saying: "I am here to play football.

"After two or three months without playing, I am very happy. All I want is to play."

Madrid were 2-0 down when Hazard was introduced, before strikes from Karim Benzema and Casemiro rescued a late draw.

The substitute was not involved in either goal, failing to create a chance while missing a clear opportunity of his own, but was delighted to be involved in the dramatic comeback.

"I think we have shown great character," Hazard said. "We were losing 2-0 and, in the final moments, we could even have scored more.

"I could have scored, but I missed. We did not get three points, but the result tastes like victory."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said Los Blancos will take a cautious approach with Eden Hazard following his long-awaited return in the Champions League.

Hazard came off the bench with 20 minutes remaining as stuttering LaLiga champions Madrid overturned a two-goal deficit to salvage a 2-2 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach thanks to Casemiro's 93rd-minute equaliser.

Belgian star Hazard was included in the squad for the first time this season, having sustained a muscle injury as he neared a return to action at the end of last month.

Discussing Hazard's comeback post-match, Madrid boss Zidane told reporters: "It was his first game after a long time out.

"That was the plan to gradually try and get him playing and that's what we've got to do with Eden.

"He needs to be involved gradually and that's all there is to it. How we're going to do that will depend on the games.

"Given that we're playing every three days we'll have to see how we're going to do it."

Madrid avoided a record fourth consecutive European loss courtesy of Casemiro and Karim Benzema, after Marcus Thuram's brace had put hosts Gladbach in the box seat.

Gladbach became the 30th different opponent Benzema has scored against in the Champions League – only Lionel Messi (36), and Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul (both 33) have scored against more teams in the competition's history.

The result left Madrid with one point from two games in Group B following last week's shock defeat at home to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Zidane, whose Madrid averted defeat in a Champions League away fixture having trailed by two goals for the first time since December 2006 – added: "It's a deserved result but we could have won it because we do all we can do win games but there was a team up the other end who made it difficult for us.

"We didn't panic, we kept opening the pitch up and we showed real character to come back. That's what I'll be taking away from this because being 2-0 down in the Champions League and getting a point is a great result.

"If we keep playing like we did tonight we'll achieve great things and win games."

Toni Kroos insists the Real Madrid squad still has faith in coach Zinedine Zidane after the Frenchman came under scrutiny in the wake of some recent poor results.

Although Madrid head into Tuesday's Champions League encounter with Borussia Monchengladbach on the back of a 3-1 Clasico win over Barcelona, prior back-to-back defeats to promoted Cadiz and depleted Shakhtar Donetsk raised questions.

Both shock losses came at home, with the 3-2 reverse to Shakhtar – in which they found themselves 3-0 down at half-time – seeing Los Blancos playing catch-up right away in Champions League Group B.

The Clasico victory at Camp Nou on Saturday prevented the pressure from increasing, though another poor result in Europe will surely have Zidane on the back foot again.

But Kroos is adamant such defeats are not on the coach.

"For our part, there have never been doubts with Zidane," he told reporters. "We lose and win together.

"It is easy if something is not going well to say that there are doubts, but the result of the Clasico showed that it is not like that.

"If you play for Madrid you have to accept that if you lose matches there is criticism. The important thing is how you react and we did very well, but it is only one victory and you have to continue like this."

Similarly, Zidane seemed to give little significance to the idea he is under pressure.

"I only think about tomorrow's game," he told reporters on Monday. "I will fight until the last day and we will do things as usual. The rest, we will see."

Zidane has been given the boost of being able to include Eden Hazard in the squad for the first time this season, the Belgium star having sustained a muscle injury as he neared a return to action at the end of last month.

But the coach was not giving anything away with regards to the winger's chances of playing in Germany on Tuesday.

"If Hazard is with us it is because he is well and that is good news," Zidane said. "We are all happy to see him with us.

"Tomorrow we will see how we are going to use him. It is very positive news for us."

Thibaut Courtois backed Eden Hazard to eventually "explode" for Real Madrid after his luckless injury run.

Hazard is yet to make an appearance for Madrid this season, having suffered a muscle injury just as he neared a return from an ankle issue.

The playmaker struggled to have much of an impact for the LaLiga giants in his first season following his arrival for a reported €100million (£86m) from Chelsea last year.

But Belgium and Madrid team-mate Courtois believes it is only a matter of time before Hazard delivers at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Hazard? I have no doubt, I am sure we will see the best Eden Hazard," the goalkeeper told Cadena SER on Wednesday.

"He is the first with the desire to show it. I see him very well and hopefully soon he can prove it.

"Just before his injury, he played several games very well and there he had such bad luck and getting out of that was not easy.

"But now this month I saw him train very well. I am sure that in no time he will explode and will to give many joys to the team."

Courtois arrived at Madrid from Chelsea in 2018 and also struggled initially, but he has turned his form around.

The 28-year-old paid tribute to coach Zinedine Zidane for continuing to back him.

"Zidane has given me a lot of confidence. I have always felt that he counted on me and it is important," Courtois said.

"In those difficult moments at the beginning of last year, if you don't feel that the coach is with you, it becomes difficult."

Courtois' save percentage in LaLiga in his first season with Madrid in 2018-19 was 65.4, as per Opta.

That figure improved to 79.2 last season, as he faced 302 shots in both of those campaigns.

In four games so far in 2020-21, Courtois' save percentage is at 86.7, showcasing his improvement at Madrid.

Madrid, who are top of LaLiga with 10 points from four games, host Cadiz on Saturday.

Reported Real Madrid target Houssem Aouar has the talent to one day play at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Zinedine Zidane has little interest speculating about the final days of the transfer window.

Lyon midfielder Aouar, who starred in their run to last season's Champions League semi-finals, has been linked with both Madrid and Arsenal.

The window closes on Monday, though, and Zidane - while acknowledging Aouar's talent - is looking forward to having the distraction of out the way.

"I don't know what information you have," Zidane responded at a news conference ahead of Madrid's trip to Levante. "I have no doubt about this player, he is a great player.

"Maybe one day he could play for Madrid, but today we have this squad and my concern is the players I have now. As of October 5, there will be no such questions."

Madrid are yet to make a single signing in this window, yet the focus in recent days has been on a man they let go.

Achraf Hakimi was allowed to join Inter after an impressive loan with Borussia Dortmund and rival right-backs Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola have both gone down injured in the past two days.

Carvajal has damaged the medial collateral ligament in his right knee and could reportedly face two months out, while back-up Odriozola then sustained a calf issue.

Zidane is now without a recognised option on that side of the defence but would not reflect differently on Hakimi's departure.

"These are things that can happen in a squad," he explained. "We have to count on other players. We can't look for excuses."

The pair join winger Eden Hazard on the injury list, Madrid's number seven suffering a muscle injury late last month as he sought to return to fitness after a tough first season in Spain.

Zidane is not concerned Hazard's repeated problems will mean he does not come back the same player, though.

"I am positive about everything, including Hazard," the coach said. "Plus this was a muscle injury from having worked hard to return.

"I don't like [injures], because I like having everyone available, but they are things that can happen. It just bothers me that players can't play."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is unsure how long Eden Hazard will be sidelined, but said the attacker was "upset" after another injury setback.

Hazard, 29, is enduring a torrid run in Madrid, and is yet to make an appearance this season.

The Belgium international was ready to return from an ankle problem, but suffered a muscle injury that saw him miss Wednesday's 1-0 LaLiga victory over Real Valladolid.

Zidane is unsure how long Hazard, signed for a reported €100million from Chelsea last year, will be unavailable.

"I can't tell you how long it'll be. He picked up a bit of a knock in training before the game," he told a news conference.

"It looked like a muscle spasm but in the end it turned out to be a bit more than that. It's something muscular. It's nothing to do with the injury he's had and these things happen.

"He's been out for a long time. I don't think this one will be long but I can't tell you exactly."

Hazard has struggled to impress since arriving at Madrid, where he scored one goal and provided three assists in 16 LaLiga appearances last season.

Zidane said the former Lille star was disappointed after his latest injury.

"He's upset because he was all right. We talked about it at the press conference before the match, but he's had a setback and these things can happen," he said.

"He's not happy, he knows that it's not a big thing and we have to take it easy with him. It's a question of little time, I'm sure."

After earning seven points from their opening three LaLiga games, Madrid visit Levante on Sunday.

Eden Hazard has suffered a fresh injury blow, with Real Madrid confirming he has sustained a muscle injury in his right leg.

The Belgium forward has yet to feature for Los Blancos this season having endured an injury-hit debut 2019-20 campaign.

Hazard's big-money arrival from Chelsea was met with much fanfare but the start of his campaign was held up by a hamstring complaint and he sustained a fractured foot in a Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain in November having started to show flashes of his best form.

A broken ankle he suffered in February not long after returning from that setback further derailed Hazard's progress and there were suggestions this month he returned to pre-season overweight.

Head coach Zinedine Zidane defended Hazard against suggestions he lacked professionalism and included him in the squad for Wednesday's LaLiga clash with Real Valladolid.

But Madrid confirmed the new issue in a statement on the club's website and, although they did not put a timescale on his return, reports suggest he could be absent for another three to four weeks.

"Following tests carried out today on our player, Eden Hazard, by Real Madrid Medical Services, he has been diagnosed with a muscle injury in his right leg. His recovery will continue to be assessed," Madrid's statement read.

The LaLiga champions have taken four points from their opening two matches of the campaign.

Eden Hazard is "very close" to a return to full fitness as Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane refuted suggestions the forward lacked professionalism. 

The Belgium star has struggled to find his rhythm in Spain following his initial €100million switch from Chelsea in June last year.

He managed a solitary goal in his debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu as he battled to regain top condition after undergoing surgery on a broken right foot.

Zidane hinted that Hazard is primed for action for the first time this season, though stopped short of confirming his spot in the team for Wednesday's clash with Real Valladolid.

"I think he's very close to a return," said Zidane. "He is prepared and training well with the team.

"The issue is that he hasn't been able to train much until now, but now he is back training regularly. So, we'll see what happens.

"What he wants is to play. He had a big problem that caused him issues for a long time, but now it seems like he is fine.

"The season is very long and he is a professional. He does not lack professionalism. What he wants is to be with his team-mates and to play."

Asked if he was looking to add to his squad in what remains of the transfer window, Zidane pointed out the difficulties he already faces in picking the LaLiga champions' strongest XI.

Vinicius Junior is one player who is having to contend with being on the periphery, although Zidane insists he is content with the winger.

"I'm very happy with the squad that I have," he said. "Adding more players would not be ideal.

"I'm already struggling to choose between the players that I have. I have the best squad.

"I'm very happy with Vinicius. He wants to play like every player, I pick my starting line-up every match, and of course I count on Vinicius, he is a great player."

Zidane's side responded to their opening-game draw with Real Sociedad by winning 3-2 at Real Betis last time out. 

Zinedine Zidane insists he will not put pressure on the Real Madrid board to bring in attacking reinforcements before the transfer window closes.

Madrid have been quiet since the market re-opened and the 0-0 stalemate at Real Sociedad to kick off their LaLiga title defence in underwhelming fashion suggested Zidane might have to seek solutions beyond his squad.

However, despite allowing creative talents such as Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Brahim Diaz to leave, the head coach told reporters ahead of Saturday's match against Real Betis that he will not be pestering Florentino Perez to get the chequebook out.

"This is the squad I have to work with, I'm not going to ask for anything more," he said.

"But I know that anything can happen between now and October 5.

"I think the best thing for all managers is that the transfer deadline comes and goes.

"I think I have the best squad and I'm thoroughly behind my players."

Perhaps Madrid's more recent attempts to spend big and bolster their attack are serving as cautionary tales.

Eden Hazard is still building up match fitness and unavailable, the stop-start nature of his underwhelming first season at the Santiago Bernabeu apparently playing on a loop few take any pleasure in watching.

"He's okay, that injury isn't a bother anymore," Zidane said of the damaged foot that required surgery last term.

"But he needs to get training sessions under his belt, he needs to work for the team and go slow.

"In a short time, he'll be with the squad. What we want and what the player wants is to be part of that first-team fold and playing."

Luka Jovic was again an unused substitute in San Sebastian but Zidane maintains the former Eintracht Frankfurt favourite has a role to play, perhaps even in tandem with first-choice striker Karim Benzema.

"They can play together. But we've got a lot of games coming up and there are lots of different playing styles and formations. Every game is different," he said.

"We also have to take into account our opponents. Also, like I said, every game is different and you have to choose players accordingly.

"I've never said Karim and Jovic can't play together up front. I can see it, definitely."

Zidane added: "Last season we won two titles, so we obviously had no problem scoring and winning titles

"You go through periods where sometimes you struggle to score and put those chances away but it's something you work on to improve."

Zinedine Zidane does not know when Eden Hazard will be fit to play for Real Madrid as the Belgium star's struggles in the Spanish capital continue.

Although Madrid successfully wrested control of LaLiga from Barcelona last season, it was a campaign of personal frustration for Hazard following his initial €100million switch from Chelsea.

He managed a solitary goal and struggled to regain top condition after undergoing surgery on a broken right foot.

Hazard signed off his season with a lacklustre showing in Madrid's Champions League last-16 loss to Manchester City.

The 29-year-old went on international duty during the recent break for Nations League matches against Denmark and Iceland but did not play a single minute and reports from Madrid suggested he returned to pre-season training overweight.

Before the start of his team's title defence at Real Sociedad on Sunday, Zidane confirmed Hazard would not feature in San Sebastian.

"I can't tell you when he'll be able to return, just that he's better," he said.

"The important thing is how the player feels. We have time to prepare for the season.

"The only thing he has to do is be at 100 per cent and we'll get to work."

One creative talent ready to play a part is Martin Odegaard, who is back in the Madrid ranks after impressing on loan at Real Sociedad last season – to the extent that Los Blancos opted to recall the 21-year-old Norway international instead of allowing him to spend another campaign at the Anoeta.

"He's our player and he can contribute to the team," Zidane said of Odegaard, who also spent time on loan with Heerenveen and Vitesse after joining Madrid as a 16-year-old in January 2015.

"Players that come to Real Madrid are the best. We have another player and he's a player that can be very important in this squad. I know I have the best players here.

"The important thing for the players is to be prepared and I think Martin, like the others, is prepared.

"Martin has changed because his trajectory has been phenomenal and he's improved each year. He's a more complete player now."

Kylian Mbappe would be a "stratospheric" signing for Real Madrid but a move is not financially feasible, according to the Spanish club's former president Ramon Calderon.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been strongly tipped to link up with Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu at some point in his career, potentially as early as this transfer window.

However, Mbappe still has two years to run on his PSG contract and would command a huge transfer fee, which Calderon feels no team can justify in the current climate.

"No doubt Mbappe is a player who everyone would like to sign. He has great potential, and he is very young," he told Stats Perform News.

"He reminds me a lot of Ronaldo, the Brazilian, because of his strength and his capacity to score goals. No doubt, he would be a great transfer. 

"I don't know if Real Madrid are able to do it now. It would be a stratospheric transfer. He has a contract with PSG – they will not give him away for free.

"On the other hand, we are into a very expensive deal with the rebuilding of the new stadium. It is up to €1billion. So, it is difficult.

"But if the president thinks it can be possible, he will do it. However, I guess the economy will not be the best, especially at this time, when there will be financial issues at every club.

"The costs of transfers will totally change. They will go down, and also the salaries of the players will go down.

"So, it is basically an economic point. First, the player needs to ask for a transfer request and the financial agreement will come after.

"But, again, the financial agreement for Mbappe is not easy – it cannot be done by anyone."

Madrid's most recent marquee signing, Belgium forward Eden Hazard, failed to make much of an impact in his debut season after joining from Chelsea last year.

Hazard suffered from a series of injury issues and featured just 22 times in all competitions, but Calderon expects to see a lot more from the 29-year-old this coming season.

"We know he was a great player in the Premier League," Calderon said. "A fantastic player – so much talent and skill.

"But he did not play as regularly as Madrid demand of their players. Chelsea are a big team, but Chelsea players don't have to handle the pressure that Real Madrid players have.

"I have dealt with it. When they come here, you face the most difficult time of your career. You have to give 150 per cent and the fans are extremely demanding.

"So, we have to wait. It is only the first year, a year of adaptation. He also struggled with injuries. I believe he could show his talent the following year.

"It has happened before with other players when they couldn't perform the first season and the second one has been totally different. Hopefully, that will be the case."

Zinedine Zidane guided Madrid to their first LaLiga title in three years in 2019-20 – his 11th trophy in three seasons as head coach across two spells in the Spanish capital.

The Frenchman's future has sometimes been called into question, however, and Calderon has backed former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to take over once Zidane does eventually move on.

"Pochettino is a very good manager. Of course he could manage Real Madrid," Calderon said.

"However, again, this is a very complicated club and so demanding of everyone. From that point, they have built their history.

"That demand makes every player know they need to be at 100 per cent in order to fight for all the trophies.

"I believe Zidane will stay, but it is true he already left once. He is not engaged to anyone, even though he has already shown his commitment to Real Madrid.

"I think he didn't plan at the beginning to become manager. But he finally decided to be manager and he has reached a point [that will be] very difficult to equal for many years.

"I hope he stays for many years, but nothing is forever. One day he will decide to leave and when it happens, it will be the time to think of another manager – and I think Pochettino would be really suitable."

Eden Hazard and Rodrygo will start for Real Madrid against Manchester City in the Champions League last-16 second leg.

Belgium star Hazard had been battling to be fit after suffering discomfort in the ankle he injured in February, but head coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed this week the player was feeling better.

He joins Rodrygo, preferred to Marco Asensio and Vinicius Junior, alongside Karim Benzema in attack, while Eder Militao starts as expected in place of the suspended Sergio Ramos.

City boss Pep Guardiola has dropped Eric Garcia to the bench after announcing on Thursday that the teenage defender – heavily linked with a return to boyhood club Barcelona – would not sign a new contract at the Etihad Stadium.

Veteran campaigner Fernandinho will partner Aymeric Laporte in the heart of defence, with Phil Foden handed a start as David Silva begins his final game as a City player in Manchester among the substitutes.

Gabriel Jesus, who played much of the first leg on the left flank before heading in City's equaliser, starts up front in Sergio Aguero's ongoing absence through a knee injury, while Guardiola again appears to have opted for a double pivot in midfield of Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri, who both started at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Portugal international Joao Cancelo is preferred to Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back, with Benjamin Mendy suspended.

City lead 2-1 from that first leg.

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