- Belgian forward struggling for game time
- Suggested he no longer speaks to his boss
- Faces fierce competition for places
WHAT HAPPENED? The Belgian forward, who has struggled for form and fitness across four years at Santiago Bernabeu, has stated that he barely speaks with his manager at Santiago Bernabeu after being frozen out of first-team plans. Ancelotti is adamant that nobody is being ignored in his squad, with the Italian eager to point out that Hazard is merely a victim of fierce competition for places.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Ancelotti has said of Hazard heading into the second leg of Champions League last-16 encounter with Liverpool on Wednesday: “The relationship is not cold. Look, you have to appreciate both things: Hazard has been honest, because I don’t talk to him much, it’s the truth. Talking is a question of character, you feel more comfortable with some people than with others. But the most important thing for me is that if we don’t talk a lot and if he doesn’t play a lot, he respects me, just like I respect him in the same exact way. Why doesn’t he play? Because there is a lot of competition and in his position there is a player who is contributing a lot, which is Vinicius.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Hazard still has a little over 12 months left to run on his contract with Madrid and, despite taking in just seven appearances this season, Ancelotti has suggested that the 32-year-old may be given a chance to see that deal out. He added: “For next year I am counting on the players that the club puts at my disposal.”
IN TWO PHOTOS:Getty
WHAT NEXT? Hazard joined Real for €100 million (£88m/$107m) from Chelsea in 2019, but has registered just seven goals and 11 assists for the Blancos across 73 appearances in all competitions.