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Real Madrid news: Hazard, James, Kroos, Mendy, Cruyff...

Today's Real Madrid round-up features controversial remarks on James, a European Cup anniversary and news of Ferland Mendy and Toni Kroos' recoveries.

Real Madrid's Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and Granada FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on October 5, 2019. (Photo by

Hazard won't be Real's new Ronaldo, says Wenger

Former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has warned Real Madrid that Eden Hazard may well achieve big things at the club, but they shouldn't expect him to replicate Cristiano Ronaldo's goalscoring exploits at the Bernabéu. "He will be the answer," Wenger told an interview with beIN Sports this week, "but not in replacing Ronaldo, that is for sure. He will not score 50 goals a year."

Having attracted criticism for his slow start to life at Madrid, club-record summer signing Hazard finally netted his first goal for the Spanish giants - and also supplied a maiden assist - in last weekend's 4-2 LaLiga win over Granada.

Mendy and Kroos on comeback trail

For the fourth day in a row, Ferland Mendy did individual ball work on the Valdebebas training pitch on Friday, as the French left-back edges closer to returning from a hamstring injury that has kept him out since late last month.

Meanwhile, Toni Kroos was able to do straight-line running as the players not on international duty went through their paces at the club's training ground. The Germany midfielder, who limped out of the victory over Granada with a groin strain, is a doubt for the first Clásico of the season, at the Camp Nou on 26 October.

Following Friday's final training session of the week, Zinedine Zidane's reduced squad will have Saturday and Sunday off, before getting back to work on Monday.

Ex-Colombia doc apologises for James remarks

Former Colombia national-team doctor Héctor Fabio Cruz has said sorry for his controversial remarks about James Rodríguez six weeks ago.

After James was ruled out with a calf strain at the end of August, Cruz seemed to suggest the Real Madrid man only had himself to blame for his injury predicament, declaring: "He's not focused. Instead of working hard for the season to come he went off to get his hair and eyebrows done when he needed to be working. The top sides like Madrid take it as a given that these guys are professional and prepare well, but this lad doesn't have his head screwed on right."

"I never meant to say anything negative about James"

"I never meant to say anything negative about James," Cruz said this week of his, er, negative comments about James. "I'd like to publicly apologise if I caused any offence."

On this day...

On 11 October 1967, Real Madrid knocked out Johan Cruyff's Ajax in a heavyweight European Cup first-round tie. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Amsterdam, goals by Paco Gento and José Luis Veloso earned Madrid a 2-1 extra-time victory in the return at the Bernabéu, with Henk Groot replying for the Dutchmen.

Miguel Muñoz's men then eliminated Hvidovre and Sparta Prague in the next two rounds, before succumbing 4-3 on aggregate to eventual winners Manchester United in the semi-finals.


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