Hazard Faces More Time On Treatment Table As Madrid Confirm Thigh Injury

File photo: Real Madrid’s Belgian forward Eden Hazard gestures in pain during the UEFA Champions League group A football match Real Madrid against Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on November 26, 2019. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Real Madrid attacker Eden Hazard faces another spell on the sidelines after the club confirmed Monday he sustained an injury to his right thigh in the weekend loss to Alaves.

The Belgium international was substituted after just 28 minutes of Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Alaves, as Real were beaten for the third time in La Liga this season.

The club said in a statement that Hazard had been diagnosed with an injury to his right quadriceps and that his “recovery will continue to be assessed”.

Real did not provide a timeline for Hazard’s return, but local media reported he could be ruled out for at least two weeks.

READ ALSO: Wolves Beat Arsenal, Condemn Arteta’s Side To Third Consecutive Home Defeat

Hazard appeared to be caught by an Alaves defender as he dribbled the ball in the area after his shot was saved, and was pictured grimacing moments later with his hands on his knees.

Real coach Zinedine Zidane had initially suggested it was just a “simple knock” based on the feedback at the time from Hazard.

The 29-year-old has featured in just 28 of 65 matches for Real since joining from Chelsea last year for 100 million euros ($119.6 million).

He missed the start of this season due to injury and then tested positive for coronavirus on November 7.

Real face Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine in the Champions League on Tuesday knowing victory will clinch a place in the last 16 of the competition.

AFP

Real Madrid’s Hazard Suffers Another Injury Setback Against Alaves

Real Madrid's Belgian forward Eden Hazard leaves the pitch during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid and Deportivo Alaves at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, on November 28, 2020. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP
Real Madrid’s Belgian forward Eden Hazard leaves the pitch during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid and Deportivo Alaves at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, on November 28, 2020. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP

 

Eden Hazard suffered another injury setback on Saturday as he was substituted in the first half of Real Madrid’s game at home to Alaves in La Liga.

The Belgium international, whose first season in Spain was ravaged by injury, was replaced by Rodrygo in the 28th minute, shortly after appealing for a penalty.

Hazard appeared to be caught on his left knee by an Alaves defender as he chased down the rebound after his shot was saved, and was pictured grimacing moments later.

READ ALSO: Mahrez Scores Hat-Trick As Man City Demolish Burnley

Spanish media reported at half-time that Hazard had sustained a muscle problem.

The 29-year-old was limited to just 22 appearances in 2019-20 after joining Real from Chelsea for 100 million euros ($119.6 million), scoring just one goal.

He missed the start of this season due to injury and then tested positive for coronavirus on November 7.

He scored a penalty for his first Champions League goal in a Real shirt in the club’s 2-0 win at Inter Milan in midweek.

 

AFP

Atletico Target First La Liga Victory Over Barcelona Since 2010

File photo: Atletico Madrid’s Spanish midfielder Koke (C) celebrates his goal during the Spanish Super Cup semi-final between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid on January 9, 2020, at the King Abdullah Sport City in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Atletico Madrid’s La Liga challenge will not succeed or fail on Saturday but end a decade-long drought by beating Barcelona and they could justifiably become favourites for the title.

A first league victory over Barca since 2010 would put Atletico nine points clear of their opponents and extend an impressive unbeaten run in the league to 24 matches.

They have played seven games so far this season, scoring 17 goals while conceding only two.

A convincing start, spearheaded by a flourishing Joao Felix and the invigorated Luis Suarez, has generated optimism but a real sense of opportunity has sprouted from the imperfections of their rivals.

Real Madrid have already lost twice, with Zinedine Zidane under pressure and all the guile and resilience that won them the title in July seemingly now absent four months later.

Barcelona are trying to begin again under Ronald Koeman but the teething problems that have them sitting eighth ahead of the trip to the Wanda Metropolitano are unlikely to be resolved soon, particularly with the upheaval of presidential elections to come in January.

Two teams at what feels like the end of two hugely successful cycles has created an opening for Atletico, whose own transition should be further along after their new crop proved raw last season but looks readier to capitalise this term.

The most obvious example of maturity is Felix, the 21-year-old who struggled to live up to expectations in his first year but has arguably been La Liga’s most influential player at this early stage of his second.

It is a great pity that Suarez, infected by coronavirus, will not face Barcelona, the club that so clumsily cast him aside in the summer.

But if Atletico are to win the title this season, it is likely to be with Felix as the driving force.

The Portuguese has already equalled the nine goals and assists he managed last season, with his instinctive, creative talents helping to unlock Atletico’s previously stodgy attack.

“He’s always had great moments for us but what he has now is consistency,” said coach Diego Simeone last month. “It’s a big year for him and hopefully he’ll keep getting better.”

Felix’s next challenge is to define games like this one and to give Simeone’s side even just a taste of the lethal touch in this fixture that Lionel Messi has given Barcelona.

Simeone was left applauding when Messi’s superb strike into the corner decided the contest at the Wanda Metropolitano last year, his 31st goal in 40 games against Atletico.

Messi is the thorn in Simeone’s side but the 33-year-old has not been his scintillating self in recent weeks, still weighed down perhaps by his blocked attempt to leave last summer.

There could be a lack of freshness in his legs too this weekend, given the Argentinian only finished playing 90 minutes against Peru in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Barca will also be missing Ansu Fati and Sergio Busquets, both of them injured.

Even without Suarez, Atletico may feel then like the time is now to overcome their Catalan jinx, with the reward in the table potentially significant if a depleted Real Madrid also stumble away at Villarreal a few hours earlier.

Madrid’s defensive problems will not be helped by injuries to Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane while Villarreal are flying high in second, following four victories on the bounce.

But the benefits to Atletico in terms of belief could be even more valuable than places jumped or gaps extended, with major rivals vulnerable and a league title there for taking.

Fixtures (times GMT)

Friday

Osasuna v Huesca (2000)

Saturday

Levante v Elche (1300), Villarreal v Real Madrid (1515), Sevilla v Celta Vigo (1730), Atletico Madrid v Barcelona (2000)

Sunday

Eibar v Getafe (1300), Cadiz v Real Sociedad (1515), Granada v Real Valladolid (1730), Alaves v Valencia (2000)

Monday

Athletic Bilbao v Real Betis (2000)

AFP

Real Madrid’s Hazard, Casemiro Test Positive For COVID-19

 

 

Real Madrid duo of Eden Hazard and Casemiro have tested positive for COVID-19 after being among the group of players and staff tested at Valdebebas on Friday morning.

The club released a statement in this regard which read

“Real Madrid C.F. informs that our players, Casemiro and Eden Hazard, have tested positive in the COVID-19 tests undertaken yesterday, Friday, in the morning.”

“All of the other first-team players and coaching staff, as well as the club employees who work directly with the squad tested negative in yesterday’s tests. Meanwhile, all of them, apart from Casemiro and Hazard, once again tested negative in the antigen tests taken this morning.” the message further read.

Both the players will go into self-isolation at home and complete their quarantine period.

Hazard and Casemiro are expected to miss the La Liga encounter against Valencia on Sunday.

Rodrygo Sinks Struggling Inter To Give Real Madrid Crucial Win

Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Rodrygo (L) scores a goal during the UEFA Champions League group B football match between Real Madrid and Inter Milan at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madrid, on November 3, 2020. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP

 

Real Madrid thwarted a second-half comeback from Inter Milan to win 3-2 on Tuesday and give their Champions League bid lift-off in Group B. 

Madrid’s 19-year-old Brazilian Rodrygo came off the bench to score the winner at the empty Alfredo di Stefano stadium, where Inter threatened a remarkable turnaround after drawing level from two goals down.

Lautaro Martinez and Ivan Perisic gave Inter hope of victory after Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos had put Madrid in command, Ramos heading in a second after half an hour for his 100th Real Madrid goal.

But Rodrygo had the last word, his cool finish in the 80th minute earning Zinedine Zidane’s side their first win to leave Inter with a mountain to climb if they are to make the last 16.

These teams were expected to fight for the top two spots in the group but both came into this game on the back of stumbling starts, Inter taking two points and Madrid just one from opening games against Borussia Moenchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Neither coach could afford another slip-up either after a bumpy few weeks. Antonio Conte’s Inter have now won only one of their last seven games while Madrid appear to have turned a corner following consecutive losses last month.

The lively Perisic replaced the injured Romelu Lukaku up front for Inter and Eden Hazard started for the second time this season for Madrid. The Belgian delivered only in glimpses before being taken off shortly after the hour.

Inter’s right-back Achraf Hakimi also went up against the club that sold him for 40 million euros in July and although he was dangerous going forward, it was his poor backpass that led to Benzema’s opening goal.

Madrid were the stronger side in the first half but conceded chances and were vulnerable on the break.

Marco Asensio went close after a cutback from Hazard before two Inter counters saw Nicolo Barella hit the crossbar and Martinez force a save from Thibaut Courtois.

Fede Valverde should have scored but scuffed a half-volleyed finish after a neat header from Benzema, who then did score, capitalizing on Hakimi’s error to round the goalkeeper and slot home.

When Ramos headed in Toni Kroos’ corner in the 33rd minute, Madrid looked comfortable but in the 35th they let Inter back in, a sumptuous flicked backheel from Barella spinning into the path of Lautaro, who made no mistake.

Hazard went off just after the hour, with Madrid less dominant and Inter’s confidence growing.

They equalized with the first real chance of the half as Perisic darted onto Martinez’s header and finished into the far corner.

The game was in the balance. Lautaro curled over and Perisic fired wide, with Inter even looking the more likely to grab a winner.

But it was Madrid who struck again, the two substitutes combining on the break as Vinicius Junior sped clear on the left and crossed to Rodrygo on the right, his fellow Brazilian controlling and sweeping in.

AFP

Madrid’s Militao Tests Positive For COVID-19

File Photo of Eder Militao

 

Real Madrid defender Eder Militao has contracted coronavirus on the eve of the Champions League group stage tie with Inter Milan, the Spanish giants said Monday.

Brazil’s 22-year-old center-back, who has featured three times in the league and in Europe this, returned the result after tests on Sunday.

“All the other players and the technical staff from the first team, as well as all the employees of the club who work directly with them, tested negative in that same test,” Real said in a statement.

“The club would like to confirm once again that everyone, with the exception of Eder Militao, tested negative in the antigen tests carried out that same morning.”

According to UEFA’s guidelines, Militao must return a negative test at least six hours before kick-off to be able to feature against Inter in the Spanish capital on Tuesday.

Madrid could also be without Militao’s fellow defenders Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola and Nacho, who are all struggling with fitness issues.

Zinedine Zidane’s men lost their opening game of the continental campaign to Shakhtar Donetsk earlier this month before drawing at Borussia Moenchengladbach last week.

-AFP

Real Madrid Beat Barca In First Empty Stadium Clasico

(L-R) Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder Luka Modric, Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Rodrygo and Real Madrid’s Spanish forward Lucas Vazquez celebrate at the end of the Spanish League football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 24, 2020. LLUIS GENE / AFP

 

Real Madrid averted a crisis in the best possible way on Saturday by beating Barcelona 3-1 in the first empty Clasico, landing an early blow in La Liga’s title race.

Barca had the chance to inflict a third consecutive defeat on their rivals and increase the pressure on Zinedine Zidane.

Instead, Madrid’s win earns them a six-point lead over the Catalans, having played one game more.

Sergio Ramos’ penalty and a late Luka Modric goal finished off Barcelona after Federico Valverde and Ansu Fati had traded early strikes in a frantic game that defied those expecting further evidence of two heavyweights in decline.

Barcelona might feel hard done by, especially as Ramos’ penalty was awarded after a check by VAR and a hugely exaggerated fall by Madrid’s captain after Clement Lenglet tugged his shirt.

But aside from an impressive spell in the first half, when an inspired Lionel Messi threatened to win the game on his own, Madrid were dominant for longer spells and pulled away when it mattered.

This was Ronald Koeman’s first Clasico as Barcelona coach and some of the pressure Zidane would have felt from a loss is now transferred to the Dutchman, who has overseen only three wins from his first six games in charge.

Barcelona face Juventus on Wednesday in the Champions League, without the suspended Gerard Pique.

Every Barca set-back is now seen through the lens of Messi’s future too. The Argentinian, who failed in his attempt to leave last summer, has still to score from open play this season.

Mundo Deportivo had declared the match “The least Clasico of Clasicos” on its front page on Saturday morning.

The coronavirus pandemic meant the biggest football stadium in Europe was silent for the game that La Liga president Javier Tebas had claimed is “still the biggest football match in the world”.

In the previous week, Real Madrid had lost to Shakhtar Donestsk and newly promoted Cadiz, while Barcelona were beaten by Getafe last weekend

Yet a dip in quality does not have to mean a drop in drama and any doubts about the thrill of this fixture were answered in eight minutes, as both teams had scored.

Madrid made the start they dreamed of when Karim Benzema drifted deep into the right channel and was allowed to turn, with the sprinting Valverde going beyond him.

Valverde pierced the gap before lifting a curved shot past Neto and into the far corner.

Madrid celebrated as if their confidence had been reborn, but within three minutes, Barcelona were level.

Messi, from almost left-back, chipped a ball over the top freeing Jordi Alba who fired into the front post where Fati had nipped ahead of Ramos and turned in.

It was fast and open for the rest of the half, with Messi enjoying a golden spell. He glided past Casemiro and then swerved around Ramos, but onto his right foot, the finish stabbed into Thibaut Courtois at the near post.

Benzema should have scored too. Madrid finished the stronger before half-time but Barca were better after. Fati flashed just wide and Philippe Coutinho missed a free header at the back post.

Their momentum was checked by Lenglet’s error, a tug in the box clear enough that Ramos’ shirt was stretched, even if the fall was comically exaggerated. Referee Juan Martinez checked the monitor. Ramos found the corner.

Barca wanted a penalty themselves when Ramos booted a ball into team-mate Raphael Varane’s arm, but this time there was no whistle.

Ramos and Valverde both could have made it three in the final minutes before substitute Modric did, finishing beautifully after Neto rushed out.

AFP

Real Madrid Gathering Momentum After Levante Victory

Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (C) celebrates his goal with teammates during the Spanish League football match between Levante UD and Real Madrid CF at La Ceramica stadium in Vila-real on October 4, 2020. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP).

 

Real Madrid moved to the top of La Liga on Sunday as Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema both scored in a 2-0 win over Levante.

Vinicius, who had proved decisive in Madrid’s win over Real Valladolid on Wednesday, looked set to see off Levante as well, before Benzema notched his first goal of the season late on.

Madrid have now recorded three clean sheets from their four opening games, although a draw away at Real Sociedad has given an early advantage to Barcelona, who play away at Sevilla later on Sunday.

“We had to suffer,” said Zinedine Zidane. “We had chances in the second half to kill the game and that would have made it different. We suffered a lot because they also had chances.”

Madrid and Barca had earlier played out the first ever women’s Clasico after Madrid finally launched their female team this season. Yet Barcelona showed their superiority in a 4-0 rout.

But the men’s team have become something of a defensive juggernaut under Zidane after their solidity and resilience formed the basis of their successful title bid last term.

They have 10 points from 12 available, after three consecutive wins.

Levante, meanwhile, have managed only one victory from first four matches and this defeat means they drop into the relegation places.

Vinicius gave Madrid the lead after 16 minutes when Levante failed to clear a corner and the Brazilian calmly curled in for his second goal in two games.

He could have made it two but overhit a pass intended for Benzema and then Levante hit the crossbar, Nikola Vuckevic at the back post almost capitalising on some hesitation from Thibaut Courtois.

Levante found it difficult to cope with Madrid’s pressing and Benzema and Vinicius both should scored when twice they won the ball back in dangerous positions.

Sergio Ramos also had a headed goal ruled out for offside but Levante went close to a late equaliser as Clerc and Enis Bardhi both tested Courtois.

But Benzema tore away on the break in injury-time and finished to complete a convincing win.

AFP

Carvajal Faces Two Months On Sidelines With Knee Injury


Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP

 

Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal has been sidelined with a knee injury, the club said on Friday.

Tests on Friday showed the Spanish international had “an injury to the inner lateral ligament of the right knee,” Real said in a club statement.

The club did not say how long the player would be out, but the Spanish media estimated about two months.

Carvajal will miss Spain’s matches against Portugal, Switzerland and Ukraine next week.

“This is unpleasant news, especially for the player,” said Spanish coach Luis Enrique as he announced his squad on Friday.

-AFP

Hazard Pulls Out Of Real Valladolid Clash After Fresh Injury Blow

Real Madrid’s Belgian forward Eden Hazard gestures in pain during the UEFA Champions League group A football match Real Madrid against Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on November 26, 2019.
GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Eden Hazard’s injury woes at Real Madrid look set to continue after the Belgian pulled out of the squad to face Real Valladolid in La Liga on Wednesday with a muscle problem.

Hazard was due to make his first appearance of the season but instead is expected to be out for at least two weeks, raising doubts around his availability for the Clasico against Barcelona in October.

“After the 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,” a club statement confirmed.

Earlier on Wednesday, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez had called up Hazard to his squad ahead of Nations League games against Iceland and England next month, as well as a friendly against Ivory Coast.

But Hazard is likely to pull out following his latest setback.

“If Eden is on the pitch with Real Madrid, it is because he is 100 percent (fit) and he will then join the Red Devils,” Martinez had said.

“We are not going to use him at 99 percent and Real won’t either for the same reasons. If he is not on the pitch tonight and Sunday, he will not come and will continue to train with Real Madrid.”

Hazard has missed Madrid’s opening two matches in La Liga, with coach Zinedine Zidane adamant the 29-year-old would only play when he was ready.

Asked earlier this month if Hazard had recovered from the ankle injury that plagued him last season, Zidane said: “I don’t know, I can’t tell you exactly.

“He is better and the most important thing is him, his feeling, that he is 100 per cent. We have time, we are starting the season. What he needs is to be 100 or 120 per cent.”

Zidane’s caution came after a nightmare opening year for the forward who, after joining from Chelsea for 100 million euros ($113m), suffered a thigh strain the day before his first game.

On his return, he showed glimpses of his best form, only to break a bone in his right ankle in November, which then required surgery in January and kept him out until February.

But Hazard was not completely healed when he came back and was in and out of the team during the run-in, starting only five of Madrid’s 11 games after the league resumed in June.

After Valladolid on Wednesday, Zidane’s team play away at Levante on Sunday ahead of the international break.

Madrid are then scheduled to face Cadiz at home on October 18 before the first Clasico of the season against Barcelona a week later at the Camp Nou.

-AFP

Kroos To Miss Real Valladolid Clash With Thigh Strain

Toni Kroos
Real Madrid’s German midfielder Toni Kroos (R) vies with Real Sociedad’s Spanish forward Mikel Oyarzabal during the Spanish league football match between Real Sociedad and Real Madrid at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian on September 20, 2020. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP)

 

 

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has suffered an injury to the back of his left thigh, the club confirmed on Monday.

Kroos was forced off in the first half of Madrid’s 3-2 win over Real Betis on Saturday and is expected to be out for around two weeks.

The 30-year-old is likely to miss La Liga games against Real Valladolid on Wednesday and Levante on Sunday.

He could also be out of Germany’s Nations League matches against Ukraine on October 10 and Switzerland three days later.

 

AFP

Real Madrid Complete Comeback To Defeat Real Betis In La Liga

Real Madrid's Spanish defender Sergio Ramos (L) heads the ball next to Real Betis' Argentinian midfielder Guido Rodriguez, French forward Karim Benzema and Portuguese midfielder William Carvalho during the Spanish league football match Real Betis against Real Madrid CF at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville on September 26, 2020. JORGE GUERRERO / AFP
Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos (L) heads the ball next to Real Betis’ Argentinian midfielder Guido Rodriguez, French forward Karim Benzema and Portuguese midfielder William Carvalho during the Spanish league football match Real Betis against Real Madrid CF at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville on September 26, 2020. JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

 

Sergio Ramos scored a late penalty as Real Madrid came from behind to scrape a 3-2 win against 10-man Real Betis, their first La Liga victory of the season. 

Betis were ahead at half-time after two goals in two minutes from Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho overturned Fede Valverde’s opener for the reigning champions.

But Betis defender Emerson, who is on loan from Barcelona, endured a nightmare start to the second half by scoring an own-goal and then being sent off for knocking over Luka Jovic after the striker had been sent clear.

VAR again intervened in Madrid’s favour in the 82nd minute as Marc Bartra was adjudged to have cleared with his arm, leaving Ramos to chip in the winning penalty.

Betis were fuming at referee Ricard de Burgos at full-time and while the red card seemed fair, they were unlucky to concede the penalty, with Bartra seemingly nudged into the ball by Madrid’s Borja Mayoral.

Madrid, though, breathed a sigh of relief, their opening win secured having kicked off the season with a goalless draw away at Real Sociedad last weekend.

“I’m not getting into the referees,” said Zidane. “We suffered of course but in the end we got the three points.”

Ramos converting from the spot felt familiar after his three penalties during Madrid’s run to the title last term but this was an uncharacteristically sloppy defensive display from Zinedine Zidane’s side.

It was the first time they had conceded twice in the first half of a league match since Zidane returned as coach 18 months ago and it would have cost them had their opponents been less generous.

Defeat for Betis ends what had been a perfect start under new coach Manuel Pellegrini, after two wins out of two against Alaves and Real Valladolid.

“From Madrid’s first goal to the end of the first half we were much superior,” said Mandi. “But we weren’t able to get a clean sheet in the second half.”

Victory for Madrid puts early pressure on Barcelona, who begin with Lionel Messi back in the fold at home to Villarreal on Sunday. Atletico Madrid also play their first game on Sunday at home to Granada.

Eden Hazard was still absent in Seville, not even included on the bench as Zidane continues to insist the Belgian regain full fitness before returning to action.

Jovic was given a rare start up front but the Serb missed a good chance before going off in the second half and it would not be a surprise if he departed before the end of the transfer window.

Benzema made Madrid’s opener, refusing to give in down the right, where he wriggled into space and crossed for Valverde to fire in at the near post.

Ramos should have made it two but lashed wide from eight yards out and then Betis found their rhythm, exerting more and more pressure as the half wore on.

They equalised when Mandi climbed above Casemiro to head in a cross from the excellent Sergio Canales, who then initiated a second two minutes later, spreading left to Nabil Fekir, who laid off for Carvalho to power through and drive home.

But Madrid were level three minutes after the restart as Emerson poked Carvajal’s cross into his own net and then the Betis defender was sent off, ajudged to have bundled into the back of Jovic, who had been put through by Benzema.

Ramos bent the free-kick wide, Benzema feathered past the post and substitute Borja scuffed a finish, only for De Burgos to review and decide the stumbling Bartra had diverted the ball away with his arm. Ramos made no mistake.

Valencia’s poor start to the season under new coach Javi Gracia continued as they were held earlier to a 1-1 draw by newly-promoted Huesca. Real Sociedad eased past Elche 3-0 while it finished goalless between Alaves and Getafe.