Eden Hazard made his first Real Madrid start across any competition since the end of January on Saturday.
After making two substitute appearances against Real Betis and Chelsea since returning from another injury setback, the 30-year-old was given a chance to impress from the start as Los Blancos beat Osasuna in an important La Liga fixture.
In being named in the starting XI, it was the first time Hazard has done so since January 30 when he played for an hour in a surprise 2-1 home defeat by Levante.
Operating in the number 10 role behind lone striker Karim Benzema, the Belgian forward got 72 minutes in the tank before being replaced by Isco.
This will certainly boost Hazard’s hopes of starting against Chelsea on his first return to Stamford Bridge following his record-breaking transfer to Real Madrid in the summer of 2019.
And his manager Zinedine Zidane was certainly happy with what the attacking midfielder did during his time on the pitch.
“I think he did well. As you said, it’s the first time he’s started and he’s played nearly 70 minutes,” Zidane told reporters. “He did well, especially in the position just behind Karim.
“They worked hard and I’m pleased with the performance.”
Hazard coming through 70+ minutes unscathed is certainly a warning for Chelsea ahead of the Champions League semi-final second leg tie on Wednesday night.
The Blues know all too well of Hazard’s quality and him being anywhere near full match sharpness poses a problem to Thomas Tuchel’s hope of reaching the Champions League final.
After all, Hazard has already warned he is ready to end his former club’s dream of lifting European football’s biggest prize for a second time.
“It’s always good to play against friends,” he said. “I have a couple of friends over there.
“Now I’m a Real Madrid player, I just want to win – it doesn’t matter if it’s Chelsea against us or another team, I just want to win.
“But yeah, it’s always good to see some good faces.”
Source by Football London