Some of Real Madrid’s best players are returning at a crucial time of the season.
However, Eden Hazard is not among them.
Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will have the team close to full strength on Tuesday when he defends his 1-0 victory over the first match over Atalanta in the round of 16 of the Champions League, but Hazard will again not be available due to injury.
The club said on Monday that the Belgian playmaker has a muscle injury in his right leg, the latest in a series of problems that have prevented him from playing much lately.
Hazard had left the bench to play a few minutes in a Spanish league match against Elche on Saturday after being out for nearly two months.
“He is not fit to be with us in this match (against Atalanta),” Zidane said. “I can’t tell you more because I can’t explain these things. I hope it’s not much, because we have to be positive. Something’s going on.
“He’s a player who has never been injured or hasn’t been injured much in his career and this is a new situation for him. I can’t explain it. We’re there for him and we want him to get better. I hope he does.” we will be back soon. “
Madrid recently had almost 10 players eliminated, but little by little they have returned to help the club as it enters the final leg of the season while still competing in the Champions League and Spanish League.
Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo – who recently missed several games due to injuries, including the first game against Atalanta – are all expected to be available for a second game at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.
Benzema, who missed three consecutive games, returned two games ago, while Ramos played from the beginning in the 2: 1 victory over Elche. Benzema scored both goals, including the winner in the second half, against Elche. Ramos returned after nearly two months.
Marcelo will return to the team after more than a month out injured.
The return of these players gives Zidane more tactical flexibility. He has recently experimented with different settings and can take advantage of more options. He supports the 3-5-2 scheme he uses against Elche, and will probably try again.
“We played with this team in a few games,” Zidane said. “It’s part of our game, we can play this way or with four defenders. We can play in different ways. But we will see how we create the team. “
Marcelo’s return could make it easier for him to use the 3-5-2 formation, because the Brazilian can play well, helping to attack. The 3-5-2 setting turned for Zidane a few weeks ago, however, when he went from 4-3-3 in the middle of the league match against Real Sociedad, when left-back Ferland Mendy fought and Madrid ended in a draw 1 at home.
Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini has an almost full squad, although defender Remo Froyler was sent off after his red card in the first game. Madrid will be without the removed Casemiro due to the accumulation of yellow cards.
Atalanta have won all their European home matches this season, including a 2-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield. He won three of his four Serie A games after losing the first game to Madrid.
Atalanta is aiming to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the second consecutive season. Madrid has not escaped the last 16 in the last two seasons.