PARIS, Sept 18 ― Eden Hazard is ready to make his first start for Real Madrid in their mouthwatering Champions League opener away to Paris St Germain, coach Zinedine Zidane said yesterday.
The Belgian forward came off the bench to make his Real debut in Saturday's 3-2 win over Levante, having had his start to life at the club hit by a thigh injury the day before the La Liga season began.
“I think he is ready to play because he has been able to complete more training sessions,” the Frenchman told a news conference ahead of today's Group A game at the Parc des Princes.
“Everyone knows I have always thought highly of Hazard, he is a decisive player who can make the difference and the fact he is at Real Madrid proves that.
“I think he is going to be a very important player for us and he is going to have a formidable future here.”
Zidane's side have made an unconvincing start to the campaign, winning two of their four La Liga matches and drawing two, while conceding six goals.
They made a flying start against Levante by marching into a three-goal lead before halftime but conceded twice after the interval and by the end of the game were clinging on for all three points.
“I think we are still finding our feet, we are improving although it's true that against Levante we let our guard drop in the second half,” said Real defender Raphael Varane.
“We need to ensure we play well for 90 minutes and I think we're going to get better.”
Real's captain Sergio Ramos is suspended for the game, while Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric and Isco are injured.
Their shortages pale in comparison to PSG's however, with the French side missing suspended Brazil striker Neymar and the injured pair Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe, while new signing Mauro Icardi is a major doubt.
“It is true they have some very important players out but even without them they are still a top team,” Zidane said.
“Even though they sometimes don't achieve what they are expected to, they manage to perform well every week.” ― Reuters