Hazard must be ready to seize opportunity, says Ancelotti

Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard needs to have faith and be ready to play his way back into the first team, coach Carlo Ancelotti said ahead of the team's Champions League Group D match.

Carlo Ancelotti

FILE PHOTO: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.   -  Reuters

Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard needs to have faith and be ready to play his way back into the first team, coach Carlo Ancelotti said ahead of the team's Champions League Group D match against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.

Hazard, signed from Chelsea in June 2019 for 120 million euros ($138.95 million), has been hampered by injuries and poor form in Madrid.

The Belgian scored four goals in 21 appearances in all competitions last season and has yet to find the net this campaign, with promising Brazilian youngsters Vinicius Jr, 21 and Rodrygo, 20, impressing more with each passing game.

However, Ancelotti urged Hazard to follow the example of 28-year-old forward Mariano Diaz, who made his first appearance of the season in Saturday's 2-1 LaLiga win over Elche and was an influential presence, setting up the first goal.

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"Those who don't play need to have faith. Look at Mariano, how he finally got his chance and is enjoying himself, playing good. That's what Hazard need to do," Ancelotti told a news conference on Tuesday ahead of the clash at the Bernabeu.

Hazard may get his chance to shine for the 13-times European champions as Rodrygo suffered a minor injury in the win against Elche. Ancelotti is also expecting Welsh forward Gareth Bale to return soon.

"Rodrygo has a minor issue. He won’t be available tomorrow but will be back after the international break," the Italian coach said.

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"Bale had a big injury and needed time to recover properly. He will resume training before Saturday’s game against Rayo Vallecano (in LaLiga), and if the Wales national team thinks that he is ready to play, great.

"For us, it would be good if he plays with his country because he can get match-fit quicker."

Real Madrid is second in Group D, level with leaders Sheriff on six points, two ahead of Inter Milan. Shakhtar, who lost 5-0 at home to Madrid last month, are bottom with one point, having yet to win a match and with only three remaining.

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