Eden Hazard will soon be firing on all cylinders for Real Madrid but Zinedine Zidane has warned he will remain a target for opposing players.
The former Chelsea star has not had the expected impact since arriving in the Spanish capital in June last year.
Having dazzled at Stamford Bridge, the Belgian’s maiden campaign in LaLiga has been disrupted by injury and he underwent ankle surgery in March.
Since the return from the coronavirus-enforced break, Hazard has been substituted in all four games he has played in, but he has also continued to be met with some rough treatment, drawing regular fouls.
Madrid coach Zidane, who has guided his side to the top of LaLiga ahead of Thursday’s visit of Getafe, sees nothing sinister in the way opponents deal with Hazard but says he can expect more of the same as the 29-year-old seeks to rediscover his fitness and best form.
“He’s very good and the opponents know it,” Zidane said when asked about the number of fouls committed against Hazard.
“But there’s no intention of hurting any player.
“We have to be calm with Eden. He’s been off the pitch for a long time and you have to go easy on him.
“He’ll be fine in a little while.”
Another player in the Madrid ranks not having quite the season he will have hoped for is James Rodriguez.
The Colombia international has spoken freely of his frustration at not getting enough playing time at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Zidane understands how he feels.
“James is telling the truth,” said the Frenchman. “He wants to play more and that’s normal. I understand that.
“But we’re going to go until the end like this.”