REAL MADRID

Real Madrid round-up: Hazard, Ramos, Courtois

In this Monday's round-up: Ramos surpasses Hierro, Madrid set new defensive record, Hazard come back edges closer, Courtouis picks up LaLiga accolade.

Real Madrid round-up: Hazard, Ramos, Courtois
JAVIER GANDUL DIARIO AS

Zidane gives his side two days off

Zinedine Zidane has awarded his players a two-day break following their convincing 4-1 win against Osasuna on Sunday afternoon that keeps his side three-points clear of Barcelona at the top of the table going into the new week.

With their next match coming against Celta Vigo next Sunday night, the squad will enjoy some much-needed R&R before they resume training at 11am on Wednesday. Over the course of the week, Zidane and his coaching staff will evaluate if Eden Hazard will be ready to make his long-awaited return to action on Sunday. The Belgian star has not played since suffering a foot injury in November, but has already returned to training as normal.

“He's going to need this week, which is going to be a long week [of training, with Real Madrid not back in action until next Sunday]. Hopefully we'll see him back next week,” said Zidane following Sunday’s win in Pamplona.

Hazard rejoined training with the group last week.

Ramos suffers abuse at Osasuna

Sergio Ramos was subjected to verbal abuse and had objects thrown at him during the game at El Sadar. “Ramos, muérete!” (Ramos, kill yourself!),” was repeatedly heard from the stands, particularly after the Madrid captain scored a goal to give Madrid a 2-1 lead. The 33-year-old defender ran to the corner to celebrate his goal and pointed to his name and number, at which point a number of objects were thrown in his direction, including a lighter.

The Osasuna game was Ramos’ 440th appearance. And like that, he became the Real Madrid player with the fifth most appearances in LaLiga history after surpassing Fernando Hierro (439).

Madrid set new defensive record

Real Madrid’s defensive record speaks volumes of the improvements made at the back this season. Zidane’s side have conceded just 14 goals in their 23 LaLiga games this term, an all-time record for the club at this stage of a campaign.

Second-placed Barcelona, meanwhile, have conceded double that amount at 28 goals, coincidentally the same number Madrid had accumulated at this stage of last season. The last time Los Blancos conceded more than one goal in a league game was back on October 5, in the 4-2 win over Granada.

Courtois voted LaLiga’s best player in January

Indeed, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been instrumental to Madrid’s impressive defensive record. Over the course of January, the Belgian won all three matches in LaLiga with Los Blancos (Getafe, Sevilla and Valladolid) and conceded just one goal – a record which earned him the vote for LaLiga’s player of the month in January.

Courtois signs autographs in Pamplona.

On this day, 2018: Ronaldo netted his penultimate Madrid hat-trick

On this day, February 10, 2018, Cristiano Ronaldo netted his 43rd hat-trick for Madrid in the 5-2 win over Real Sociedad. Little did Madrid fans know it at the time, but it would turn out to be his penultimate hat-trick for the club.

Ronaldo scored 44 hat-tricks for Madrid.

He managed one more against Girona five weeks later (scoring four goals in the 6-3 victory) before he left the club that summer for Juventus. During his nine years at the Bernabéu, the Portuguese star netted an all-time club record of 44 hat-tricks.