Real Madrid: Zidane mulls 3-5-2 switch to get best out of Hazard
So far, summer signing Eden Hazard has shown few signs of reproducing the form that persuaded Real Madrid to buy him from Chelsea.
Zinedine Zidane's revamped Real Madrid are yet to click into gear after five pre-season games, with star signing Eden Hazard failing to show the kind of form that persuaded the club to make him the attacking cornerstone of their new-look side.
Madrid's 2019/20 project is still to fully take shape in terms of the make-up of Zidane's squad, as they continue in their efforts to offload unwanted players such as James Rodríguez, Gareth Bale and Mariano Díaz - who have all been left out of the travelling party for this evening's friendly against Red Bull Salzburg in Austria.
Zidane considering 3-5-2 with Hazard released from defensive duties
Where Real Madrid also remain a work in progress is their on-field game plan - and with this in mind, head coach Zidane is understood to be considering the option of testing out an all-new system at Red Bull Arena tonight: a 3-5-2 formation that would free Hazard up from all defensive responsibilities.
Éder Militao, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane would all play in defence, with Dani Carvajal and Marcelo operating as right and left wing-backs, respectively. Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Hazard would be deployed as a midfield trio with the Belgian drifting to the right, behind a strike partnership of Karim Benzema and Luka Jovic.
Of the two centre-forwards, Benzema would be tasked with dropping deep to link up with the midfield, while Jovic would be in a more advanced, target-man role.
Change to get best out of Hazard and remedy side's imbalance
It is a plan that Zidane is above all mulling over in an effort to find the best fit for Hazard. Up to now, the ex-Chelsea winger has featured in all of Madrid's summer fixtures, but has looked a shadow of the player who starred at Stamford Bridge.
On top of that, Los Blancos have been a side badly lacking in balance, with their defensive struggles underlined by the fact that they have conceded 16 goals thus far this pre-season, at a rate of just over three per game.
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