Zinedine Zidane said he was delighted with Eden Hazard after the attacker made his first start since January in Real Madrid’s 2-0 La Liga win over Osasuna
Hazard played 72 minutes at Valdebebas on Saturday, raising the possibility of Zidane picking him for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg against former club Chelsea.
“He was very good,” said Zidane of Hazard, who made a brief cameo against Chelsea in last week’s first leg. “He played close to Karim Benzema, they tried things and I was very happy with him.”
Real Madrid have it all to do against Chelsea after drawing the opener 1-1 and they are playing catch-up in La Liga too, after Atletico Madrid had earlier scraped to a 1-0 victory against struggling Elche.
Zidane’s squad has been stretched by absentees in recent weeks and he left Luka Modric and Toni Kroos on the bench, while handing Hazard his first start since January 30.
There could be a fresh concern, though, after defender Raphael Varane was taken off at half-time.
“I hope it’s a little thing but right now I can’t say,” Zidane said. “I spoke to him and he said for him it isn’t bad, and let’s hope so.”
Hazard missed a good opportunity to score but he failed to catch a volley from a Marcelo cross cleanly, scuffing it into the ground allowing goalkeeper Sergio Herrera to make a fine save.
Benzema had already gone close and Militao had a pair of headers early in the second half that again drew Herrera into action.
Hazard eventually faded and departed with 18 minutes left. Osasuna were tiring too and finally Madrid got the breakthrough, Militao making it third time lucky, rising high to head in Isco’s corner.
Four minutes later it was two, Benzema driving in from the left and slipping a reverse pass through for Casemiro, who stretched to control and instead poked that ball directly into the net.