Real Madrid supporters have found the reason for optimism as Eden Hazard marked his return to La Liga after 204 days, during the team’s 6-0 victory over Real Valladolid on Sunday night.
The 32-year-old, who recently revealed that his relationship with manager Carlo Ancelotti has deteriorated, has played a negligible role in Los Blancos’ campaign so far.
The Belgian’s time in the Spanish capital has, in fact, been a major disappointment since his £88.5 million move from Chelsea.
However, with recent positive signs in training, Hazard made a short but significant cameo appearance off the Bernabeu bench against a Valladolid team that was already defeated.
During the La Liga game, in addition to creating four chances, Hazard also provided an assist to Lucas Vazquez during his 28-minute run-out.
While Karim Benzema’s seven-minute hat trick stole the spotlight, Hazard’s performance was well-received, even by manager Carlo Ancelotti, who hinted at giving him more playing time in the first team.
After being asked about the whistles he received from Madrid fans on his entrance in the 65th minute, the Italian said post-match: “I heard that, yeah. Eden trained really well this break. He played very little, but he did well and gave an assist.”
Ancelotti added: “By training well he can get opportunities.”
Eden Hazard vs Real Valladolid (H) pic.twitter.com/LhHN4kOBFP
— ً (@AREDlTS) April 2, 2023
Hazard’s performance also earned praise from supporters on social media.
One commented on the above compilation, saying: “His ball retention is class,” while another said: “Ancelotti has blood on his hands for not giving him minutes, it could’ve been his redemption season.”
A third wrote: “It was a very solid performance from Eden despite the lack of game time in recent months. His talent is more than enough to help him contribute for the rest of the season.”
A fourth added: “Admit it, football is a far more enjoyable sport with Eden Hazard weaving his magic on the pitch instead of rotting on the bench.”
HAZARD ASSIST 😭🤍pic.twitter.com/MW9okClmpe
— Dr Yash (@YashRMFC) April 2, 2023
Last month, Hazard insisted that he is keen to stay at Madrid beyond this summer and wants to “show that I can still do it” at the top level.
He also added that he ‘respects’ Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti but revealed that they no longer speak with one another in their professional relationship.
“I would like to stay. I’ve always said that. I hope to play and to show that I can still do it,” Hazard told RTBF.
“People have doubts, that’s normal, I understand. But for me, I’m still here next year. You never know, but a transfer is not in my plan.
“There’s respect between Ancelotti and I. But I’m not going to say we talk to each other, because we don’t. But there will always be respect.
“I have to have respect [for] a guy like Ancelotti. For what he represents for football, and for what he’s done in his career.”