August 31, 2019 / 12:51 PM / 3 months ago

Zidane advises Hazard against playing for Belgium

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Real Madrid Unveil Eden Hazard - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - June 13, 2019 Real Madrid's Eden Hazard during the presentation REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said the club will not prevent injured forward Eden Hazard from travelling to the Belgium team’s camp next week but urged him not to play in their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Hazard, who Madrid signed from Chelsea for a joint-club record fee of 100 million euros ($111.44 million) in June, has yet to play a competitive game for his new side after injuring his thigh the day before the La Liga season started.

He has been named in the Belgium squad for the qualifiers away to San Marino and Scotland but was absent from Madrid’s final training session before Sunday’s trip to Villarreal, with Zidane reiterating that the forward is not yet fit.

“Legally he can travel with Belgium but at the moment he cannot play,” Zidane told a news conference on Saturday.

“He knows that, we do too and I hope he doesn’t play, for the good of everyone, including Belgium.”

Hazard is one of six Madrid forwards who are currently out, with Spain international Isco and Colombian James Rodriguez the latest players to fall injured this week after the team’s disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Real Valladolid last week.

Zidane, however, dismissed suggestions that Madrid’s injury woes were down to problems with player conditioning.

“Obviously I’m not happy to see my players injured but unfortunately these things happen, they happen in every team, everywhere you look you see there are lots of players with injuries,” he said.

“Our physios and doctors and everyone who works with the players are doing everything possible and I hope that everyone can return quickly.”

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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