Hazard’s return a boost to Madrid team, says Courts
Eden Hazard made his return from a three-month injury lay-off in Real Madrid’s 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo, with Thibaut Courtois confident the forward will be key for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
An ankle injury sidelined Hazard in late November, but he made his comeback on Sunday, winning a penalty that Sergio Ramos converted to put Madrid 2-1 up in the second half.
Madrid’s run of five straight LaLiga wins was ended by Santi Mina’s 85th-minute leveller, though, to ensure they only moved one point clear of Clasico rivals Barcelona at the top of the table.
However, the return of Hazard, who has scored just once in nine league games since joining from Chelsea ahead of this season, was seen as an encouraging development for his compatriot Courtois.
“Little by little he will catch up again after three months,” Courtois, who also played alongside Hazard at Stamford Bridge, told Movistar.
“He is a player that is worth a lot to us.”
Madrid surprisingly fell behind against Celta after Fedor Smolov scored his first goal for the club in the seventh minute.
The home side failed to muster a shot on target across the opening 45 minutes, but Toni Kroos’ sixth goal against Celta – he only has 14 overall in LaLiga – levelled matters and Hazard then won a penalty that Ramos scored.
Yet more poor defending allowed substitute Denis Suarez to find fellow replacement Mina as Celta dramatically claimed a share of the spoils.
Asked about his emotions, Courtois replied: “Angry because we conceded a [second] goal.
“It was a difficult game because they started by scoring a goal early on. They defended well with 11 men and then I made a good save to keep the score at 0-1.
“Then in the second half, we scored two fast goals but in the end we’ve lost two points that are worth a lot at home.
“We defended well but Denis made a good turn and made space for Santi Mina, who put the ball away well.
“It’s two points lost and that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”