REAL MADRID

Hazard: Courtois backs compatriot to "explode" at Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois says he is confident that fellow Belgian Eden Hazard will finally show his best form at Real Madrid.

Courtois backs Hazard to 'explode' for Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois has backed Eden Hazard to shake off his injury problems at Real Madrid and finally "explode" at the Spanish giants.

Hazard is yet to make an appearance for Madrid this season, having suffered a muscle injury just as he neared a return from an ankle issue.

The playmaker struggled to have much of an impact for Los Blancos in his first season following his arrival for 100 million euros from Chelsea last year.

"I am sure we will see the best of Eden Hazard"

But Belgium and Madrid team-mate Courtois believes it is only a matter of time before Hazard delivers at the Santiago Bernabéu.

"Hazard? I have no doubt, I am sure we will see the best of Eden Hazard," the goalkeeper told Cadena SER on Wednesday.

"He is more desperate than anyone to show it. He's coming along well and hopefully soon he can prove it.

"Just before his injury, he played several games very well and there he had such bad luck and getting out of that was not easy.

"But now this month I saw him train very well. I am sure that in no time he will explode and will give many joys to the team."

"Zidane has given me a lot of confidence"

Courtois arrived at Madrid from Chelsea in 2018 and also struggled initially, but he has turned his form around.

The 28-year-old paid tribute to coach Zinedine Zidane for continuing to back him.

"Zidane has given me a lot of confidence. I have always felt that he counted on me and it is important," Courtois said.

"In those difficult moments at the beginning of last year, if you don't feel that the coach is with you, it becomes difficult."

Courtois save percentage illustrates upturn in form

Courtois' save percentage in LaLiga in his first season with Madrid in 2018-19 was 65.4, as per Opta.

That figure improved to 79.2 last season, as he faced 302 shots in both of those campaigns.

In four games so far in 2020-21, Courtois' save percentage is at 86.7, showcasing his improvement at Madrid.

Madrid, who are top of LaLiga with 10 points from four games, host Cádiz on Saturday.