KEY POINTS

  • Hazard is officially back for Real Madrid
  • Hazard had an impressive showing despite being out since November
  • Zidane preps Real for tougher matches against Manchester City and Barca

Eden Hazard is finally back for Real Madrid, a big boost to the charges of Zinedine Zidane. The Belgian saw 73 minutes of action after being out for nearly three months but Real ended up settling for a draw. The outcome allowed Barcelona to creep up in the Liga standings. Madrid remains one point clear of Barca.

The 29-year-old winger has been out of action since November but hardly showed ill-effects of his ankle injury. He provided the spark for Los Blancos, giving Zidane plenty of reason to smile.

"I'm very happy with the return of Hazard, that he's back with us, he's played 70 minutes very well," Zidane said in a report from Goal.com.

So impressive was Hazard that he create three chances for Madrid, more than anyone else from either side. When the Belgian exited after 70 minutes, it appeared to be a great return for the attacking midfielder and Real Madrid. However, Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez joined hands with Santi Mina in the 85th minutes, allowing Celta to tie the match, Goal.com reported.

Though the result spoiled the return of Hazards, it does raise new positives for Zidane. The 47-year-old felt that returning against Celta was perfect and the 29-year-old winger responded with a fine outing.

"The first 10 minutes I was tired, but as the minutes went by I felt fine. I'm happy with my performance, but not with the result. I hope we'll improve in the next few games," Hazard said to Marca's Pablo Polo.

Up ahead, Real Madrid will try to prepare for heavyweight opponents. They will face Manchester City on Feb. 26 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie. Several days after that, Zidane will need to prepare his boys against undermanned Barcelona on Mar. 1 in the second Clasico of the campaign.

Speaking of Barcelona, it will be interesting if they are able to beef up by then. They were recently given the green light to sign a new striker although finding one will not be easy. There are restrictions set by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). Barca can only acquire players who are free agents or with another La Liga club, Goal.com mentioned in another report.