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Champions League Football Sport

Real’s Hazard to miss Atalanta game, Zidane at a loss to explain issues

file photo: la liga santander deportivo alaves v real madrid
Real Madrid's Eden Hazard

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said he is at a loss to explain forward Eden Hazard’s latest injury setback.

The Belgian international joined Real in a 150 million euro ($178.83 million) deal in 2019 but has been blighted by injuries, making 25 La Liga appearances since signing.

After returning from a muscle problem for the final 15 minutes in Saturday’s last-gasp 2-1 win over Elche, Zidane said Hazard will miss Tuesday’s Champions League home last-16 second leg with Atalanta and cannot put a timeframe on his absence.

“He won’t be fit. We’ll release a statement but I can’t say any more than that,” Zidane told a news conference.

“They’re things that I can’t explain. I want to be positive and hope that it’s not too much of a problem.

“Something’s up, because he was never injured in his entire career (before joining Real) or there were very few injuries. It’s something new. I can’t really give any more of an explanation. We want to help him and hope he’s back as soon as possible.

“We’re going to try and figure out why it’s happening (the club’s injuries), but right now we can’t explain it. We’ve spoken about things like the lack of pre-season, amount of games and the mental aspect.”

The 30-year-old Hazard joins Casemiro on the sidelines for the fixture against the Italians, with the Brazilian suspended after picking up a booking in the first leg, however captain Sergio Ramos is fit and likely to start.

Real won last month’s first leg 1-0 in Bergamo thanks to a late Ferland Mendy strike.

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