REAL MADRID

Real Madrid rule out Hazard return for Atlético derby

After initial hopes that Hazard could be back on time for Saturday's derby, Real Madrid have decided not to risk rushing him back into the squad.

The week begins with disappointing news for Real Madrid fans: Eden Hazard will not be ready to return to face Atlético on Saturday.

With Hazard returning to ball work last week for the first time since he picked up his injury on November 26 against PSG, there were initial hopes the Belgian midfielder could be back on time for the derby this weekend.

On Monday, the 29-year-old continued showing signs of progress and stepped up his contact with the ball at Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground. However he continued his recovery alone and has still not returned to training with his team mates.

Taking every precaution with Hazard’s recovery, Madrid have decided not to rush him back into the squad for Saturday’s clash with Atlético.

Eden Hazard stepped his work with the ball on Monday but still not has rejoined the group.

Next key date for Hazard: Madrid-Man City on Feb 26

The club now have their sights on having Hazard back in action before the next key date on the upcoming calendar: the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against Manchester City on February 26.

With the Belgian winger having ample experience of playing City from his Chelsea days, he will be a valuable addition to Zidane’s squad for the showdown with eternal Madrid rival, Pep Guardiola.