Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is not concerned that Eden Hazard will be dogged by injuries in the same way that Gareth Bale was in his spell with the club, after the Belgian was ruled out for up to four weeks.
Hazard was expected to make his return for Real against Real Valladolid on Wednesday but injured a muscle in his right leg on the day of the game, having started only 14 league games last season due to two serious ankle injuries.
There are a number of parallels between Hazard and Bale, who also signed for Real for 100 million euros ($117.13 million) and was haunted by injuries, including having ankle surgery in 2016.
But Zidane does not think Hazard will turn out like Bale, who returned to Tottenham Hotspur last month on loan after starting 145 of 266 La Liga games with Real.
“No, I’m not worried, I’m positive and I’m positive about Hazard, this is a muscle injury that came about from working very hard to try and get back,” Zidane said ahead of Real’s trip to Levante.
“The important thing is to now focus on getting him right again.”
Hazard was one of four Madrid players to fall injured this week, with Isco straining a muscle on Monday.
Right back Dani Carvajal was ruled out for two months with a knee injury on Friday while his deputy Alvaro Odriozola has strained a muscle.
Zidane, however, said he was not worried about the spate of injuries for his side, who have taken seven points from their first three games of the season.
“I’ve always been positive and I don’t think negatively even when difficulties arise. I don’t like having injuries but we have to accept them and not look for excuses,” he said.
“My squad has a lot of talent but we also have a lot of heart and we’ll have to keep proving our character on the pitch and be united because we cannot control what happens away from it.”