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Hazard has 'energy & happiness' again despite lack of Real Madrid minutes, insists Belgium boss Martinez

11:03 BST 22/09/2022
Hazard Belgium
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has claimed that Eden Hazard is 'happy' again and remains unfazed by his lack of minutes at Real Madrid.
  • Hazard struggling for minutes at Madrid
  • Still called up for national team
  • Martinez puts his weight behind him

WHAT HAPPENED? Hazard is still struggling to make an impression at Real Madrid and has made just one start this season so far, despite star frontman Karim Benzema being injured. However, Martinez continues to back him and is insistent that the forward will feature in the upcoming Nations League fixtures and remains in his plans for the World Cup in Qatar.

WHAT THEY SAID: "You always get the same question, 'has he played enough minutes?'. But he has not missed a training session and been really good behind the scenes.

"The lack of minutes and game time is there, but he is in a good mindset and is looking forward to being on the pitch. I see an energy and a happiness around Eden, which I did not see six months ago," the tactician asserted.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Martinez believes that the 31-year-old still has the potential to be a match-winner and is key to Belgium's chances in Qatar. He wants to make the most of the current international break to prepare Hazard and is likely to deploy him after the hour mark in Nations League games against Wales and the Netherlands depending on the match situation.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR HAZARD? The forward will strive to live up to Martinez's expectations when Belgium take the field against the Welsh and the Dutch on September 22 and 25 respectively.