• Real Madrid need firing Hazard for La Liga title battle – Courtois

    Eden Hazard

    Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois believes the club will need Eden Hazard for their La Liga title battle.

    Hazard has been limited to just 15 appearances for Madrid since arriving from Chelsea in a reported €100 million deal due to injury and fitness problems.

    The 29-year-old attacker broke his ankle prior to the La Liga campaign being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, but he has used the near-three-month hiatus as a chance to fully recover ahead of the league’s return.

    Madrid – who were two points behind leaders Barcelona with 11 matches remaining – will resume their season against Eibar on June 14 and Courtois provided an update on team-mate Hazard.

    “Hazard is just fine,” Belgium star Courtois told Movistar. “The rhythm he has is surprising, but we have to go bit by bit.

    “We can’t expect him to be on top form without playing. I think he’s in shape and we’ll need him to fight for the title.”

    Madrid had only won one of their last four La Liga games prior to the league’s postponement due to the Covid-19 crisis in March.

    Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid defeated bitter rivals Barca 2-0 in March but lost to Real Betis and Levante, while they drew at home to Celta Vigo.

    “We can’t wait for the league to begin again and start the battle to win it,” Courtois said as Madrid prepare to play behind closed doors.

    “It’ll be different [without fans],” added Courtois. “It’s great when there is an atmosphere – even when you are playing away from home and it’s against you. It gives you adrenaline and it’s something which motivates me to pull off more saves. I’ll be just as motivated without the fans there.”

    Not only will Madrid take to the field without fans, the Spanish giants will play away from the Santiago Bernabeu due to renovation work on the iconic stadium.

    Madrid are set to play their remaining La Liga games at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano – the club’s Valdebebas training ground.

    “I don’t think it will work against us [playing away from the Bernabeu],” Courtois said. “It’s an honour to play at a stadium named after a legend – the best player in Real Madrid history.

    “For the history of the club, it would be very nice to win the league there. The training sessions we have had there have been going well and I can’t see us having any problems playing there.”

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