Real Madrid’s Hazard set for return against Alavés despite ankle pains

Madrid, Jul 9 (efe-epa).- Eden Hazard is ready to return to Real Madrid’s first team despite ongoing pains in his ankle following surgery in March, manager Zinedine Zidane said Thursday.

The Belgian was forced to sit out games against Getafe and Athletic Bilbao to limit any damage to his ankle following a flare up of pains, but is ready to return for Friday night’s home game against a struggling Alavés. He returned to full training on Thursday.

“It’s bothering him a bit but it’s not a full injury again, he trained with us with complete normality,” Zidane told a press conference. “I hope he’s able to play in these four LaLiga games that remain and in the Champions League match,” he added.

“I’m with people who know a lot more than I do, and they have informed me that the scans have come back clean, it’s fine, but sometimes there can be a bit of pain, which is normal after a game or an intense training session.

“He’s not afraid, he wants to be with us, he wants to help the team. That’s the good thing, and he’ll actually be playing tomorrow,” he added.

Madrid have hit the ground running after the unscheduled coronavirus hiatus in the league, winning every game since their return and tightening their grip on the table’s top spot.

However, Zidane will have to mitigate some defensive absences as he faces off against Juan Ramón López Muñiz’s side, who are desperate for a win.

The team from the Spanish capital needs to win to keep the gap between them and second-place Barcelona, who beat Espanyol on Wednesday evening to keep the title race alive. Real Madrid currently have a one point advantage and a game in hand.

But they’ll have to do it without the help of Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal, who are both suspended due to an accumulation of cards.

The return of Raphael Varane could plug the Ramos-shaped gap in central defense but Zidane is without a natural replacement for a right-back.

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