Real Madrid Belgian star Eden Hazard has suffered yet another injury setback, with a muscular problem that could see him miss up to a month of action including the first El Clasico of the season.
The 29-year-old former Chelsea star had been called up for Madrid’s La Liga match with Real Valladolid on Wednesday night, but was withdrawn from the squad just hours ahead of the 1-0 win.
A statement from Madrid read: “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.”
Sources informed ESPN that Hazard was expected to be out for three to four weeks, which would see him miss La Liga matches against Levante and Cadiz — and potentially the trip to Camp Nou to face Barcelona on Oct. 24 or 25.
“I can’t say how much time [he’ll be out]. He hurt himself in the training session before the game. It’s a muscular injury, it doesn’t have anything to do with the injury he had. It can happen,” Real manager Zinedine Zidane said after the win over Valladolid.
“We hope it isn’t too long, I can’t say how long exactly… He’s annoyed, because he was fine … He was happy, and then he felt something. These things can happen. He isn’t happy, but he knows it isn’t much. We have to be calm with him.’
Hazard’s injury record has come under intense scrutiny in Madrid after a disastrous debut season — which he described as the worst in his career.
“He’s obviously a bit sad. I thought he’d looked good in training this week and was looking forward to seeing him play today or on Sunday,” Real goalkeeper Thibault Courtois said about Hazard after the Valladolid match.
“He looked good to me, he’s been training with his speed, as I know him. It’s a little setback for him but it isn’t his ankle, so for sure after the international break he’ll be back with us.”
Hazard admitted arriving at the Bernabeu out of shape, before suffering an ankle fracture against Paris Saint-Germain in November and another which required surgery in Dallas in March of this year.
Hazard’s return when La Liga restarted after its three-month suspension amid the coronavirus pandemic was also underwhelming, and he ended the 2019-20 campaign with just one league goal in 16 appearances.
He was left out of the Real Madrid squad for their first two matches this season, a 0-0 draw at Real Sociedad and a 3-2 win at Real Betis, with Zidane saying he lacked match fitness.