KEY POINTS

  • Eden Hazard has made only eight appearances this season
  • Real Madrid signed Hazard at $116 million from Chelsea in 2019
  • Real Madrid are currently second in the 2021-22 La Liga table

Carlo Ancelotti has explained the absence of Belgian star Eden Hazard from the Real Madrid side, saying the forward is fit but he just prefers other players.

Hazard was an unused substitute in Real Madrid's 2-1 win over FC Barcelona in El Clasico at Camp Nou on Sunday.

The former Chelsea superstar has started in just four of the seven La Liga matches in which he was featured this season and played in just one of their three Champions League matches.

Hazard may have been a star in the Premier League, where he had netted 110 goals for Chelsea, but the Belgian forward is yet to attain the same status in Madrid, according to Ancelotti, who believes Hazard, whose stint with Los Blancos has been ruined by injuries on a number of occasions, will take time to reach the same level in La Liga.

"He can play 4-3-3 on the left or 4-4-2 above or behind the striker. He is ready to play, but the problem is that there is a coach who prefers another player. He does not have a star status at Madrid because he has had many injuries and little by little he will have his best version," Ancelotti said in a press conference on the eve of Real Madrid's league clash with Osasuna, Goal reported.

Hazard has so far managed only five goals and nine assists in 51 competitive appearances for Real Madrid since his $116 million arrival in 2019.

"I am sure that this season we will see his best version and that he will play more than he is doing now. Hazard has it. Everything: quality, motivation. He has to endure, what happens is that sometimes the coach prefers other players," added Ancelotti, who took over Real Madrid's charge ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

It has been reported that Chelsea are considering re-signing Hazard as head coach Thomas Tuchel believes the Belgian star was the Blues' key player. However, Chelsea are not willing to pay more than $46 million for Hazard, which is just around a third of the fee Real had paid to Hazard in 2019.

Eden Hazard has endured a nightmare first season at Real Madrid but could make amends in the final 11 games.
Eden Hazard moved from Chelsea to Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS

After failing to win a single trophy last season, Real Madrid are currently placed second in the 2021-22 La Liga table, with 20 points, one behind Real Sociedad but Ancelotti's side has a game in hand.

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