Zidane: Hazard fit and ready for City Showdown

Eden Hazard of Real Madrid controls the ball during the Liga match between Real Madrid CF and RC Celta de Vigo at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 16, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

Zinedine Zidane has confirmed Eden Hazard is fit and ready to play against City in Friday night’s Champions League last-16 second-leg encounter at the Etihad. 

Hazard has been restricted to 21 appearances this term after suffering two ankle injuries during the campaign and has managed just one goal.

It’s been a frustrating debut season in La Liga for the former Chelsea player, who before departing these shores was considered one of the Premier League’s finest attacking players. 

But Zidane says he is fit and full of confidence ahead of the showdown at the Etihad, a game which will see Real attempt to overturn a 2-1 deficit.

“Yeah. It’s true he was feeling pain towards the end of the season but now he is much better than he was," Zidane said. 

“We have had time, he is fit and full of confidence.

“When he had his injury, playing every two, three days was tough for him in terms of recovery. But now he is fine.

“He doesn’t have to play with pain. Maybe after the second injury there was a time when that was the case - but hopefully now he can continue without feeling pain or discomfort.

“I have to think about what we do tomorrow - these are things we keep between the player and manager. We are all in good shape, we’ve had ten days to prepare and at the end of the day when one person says something about Eden and another something else...the main thing is he is fine.”

Friday’s game is beautifully poised, with Real needing to attack to get themselves back into the tie.

But City are one of Europe’s most offensive sides and again hit a century of league goals this season – the third time in six years.

Zidane, one of the greatest players to ever play the game, says he has no idea how the match will go but is convinced it will be classic.

“We are in good shape,” he said. “We prepare ourselves to play this type of game.

“We’ve known for a long time what we have to do. We knew from the first leg we are behind.

“Tomorrow is another final for us. It’s a knock-out game. We will try and put in great performance.

“What I can say is it will be a great football match between two sides who are very good.

“We are ready and prepared. We will face up to that challenge.

"It’s a final – there are four finals if we want to win it - and we will face up to this first one knowing what we have to do.”

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