Eden Hazard made his long-awaited return to action during Real Madrid’s 0-0 draw against Real Betis on Saturday night.
The Belgian winger entered the fray as a 77th-minute substitute in place of Marco Asensio, as Zinedine Zidane rolled the dice in search of all three points.
Hazard wasn’t able to inspire Los Blancos to victory at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano, although he still managed to make a positive impression.
The 30-year-old, whose Real Madrid spell to date has been seriously hampered by various injuries, looked bright during his 13-minute cameo.
Per Squawka, no Real Madrid player created more chances against Betis than Hazard, who produced a series of direct runs, plus a few quality passes and a couple of neat flicks.
Not bad for 13 minutes’ work.
Video: Hazard’s highlights vs Real Betis
You can watch Hazard’s highlights here…
Zidane: Hazard did well in 15 minutes
Asked if Hazard can contribute during the final weeks of Madrid’s season, Zinedine Zidane told reporters: “Absolutely. You’ve seen, I think in 15 minutes he did well. With spark, with energy.
“The most important thing for us and Eden is nothing was bothering him. We’re happy, absolutely he can make a difference.”
Hazard last featured for Madrid on March 13, but only played the final 15 minutes of the 2-1 victory over Elche.
His last performance prior to that was against Levante at the end of January.
Hazard’s return is a worrying sight for Chelsea
The Belgium international’s return to action comes at a worrying time for his former club Chelsea, who travel to Madrid for the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday night.
Hazard left Stamford Bridge after seven brilliant years with the best wishes of most Chelsea supporters.
He will be desperate to start against his former employers next week, and there’s no doubt that Zidane will be tempted to give Madrid’s £100 million man his first start in four months.
Chelsea warmed up for their biggest game of the season so far by recording a 1-0 victory away at rival top-four contenders West Ham.
Madrid, meanwhile, head into Tuesday’s game off the back of a hugely disappointing result against Betis.
The 0-0 draw means Atletico remain two points clear at the top of La Liga with a game in hand.
Third-placed Barcelona, meanwhile, are three points behind Zidane’s side but now have two games in hand over their enemies.
(Credit: The Football Terrace)