Hazard to return for Real Madrid v Elche, says Zidane

SHOWS: MADRID, SPAIN (DECEMBER 29, 2020) (REAL MADRID TV – MUST NOT OBSCURE LOGO)

1. REAL MADRID CAPTAIN SERGIO RAMOS KICKING THE BALL AND SCORING GOAL DURING TRAINING SESSION, REAL MADRID GOALKEEPER THIBAUT COURTOIS TRYING TO STOP THE BALL

2. RAMOS CELEBRATING GOAL

3. REAL MADRID DEFENDER CASEMIRO KICKING THE BALL AND SCORING GOAL

4. REAL MADRID COACH ZINEDINE ZIDANE PASSING BALL TO PLAYER, PLAYER KICKING THE BALL AND SCORING GOAL

5. RAMOS PASSING THE BALL WITH HEAD AND REAL MADRID FORWARD VINICIUS JR SCORING GOAL

6. RAMOS AND CASEMIRO SHAKING HANDS AFTER GOAL

7. REAL MADRID MIDFIELDER LUCAS VAZQUEZ PASSING THE BALL TO DEFENDER CARVAJAL, CARVAJAL PASSING THE BALL BACK TO VAZQUEZ AND DEFENDER MENDY BLOCKING THE PASS

8. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REAL MADRID COACH ZINEDINE ZIDANE SAYING:

"Eden will be there tomorrow and our plan is for him to play a bit. The other day we decided not to but we want him to play tomorrow. He has been with the team for many days and we want to make the most of him."

9. CASEMIRO PASSING THE BALL TO CARVAJAL, CARVAJAL RECEIVING AND PASSING IT, ISCO TAKING THE BALL, DRIBBLING AND PASSING THE BALL TO VINICIUS JR

10. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REAL MADRID COACH ZINEDINE ZIDANE SAYING:

"It is the last game of the year and we want to continue what we are doing. As you said, Elche is a hard team, it is a team that just moved up a category but it is doing pretty well, specially when they play at home. We must now try to continue with what we are doing and try to perform a nice match and add points."

11. CARVAJAL AND RAMOS RUNNING AND DOING SLALOM DURING TRAINING SESSION

12. FORWARD HAZARD AND FORWARD BENZEMA RUNNING AND DOING SLALOM

13. VINICIUS JR AND MIDFIELDER LUKA MODRIC RUNNING AND DOING SLALOM

14. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REAL MADRID COACH ZINEDINE ZIDANE SAYING:

"I count on all my players, they are Real Madrid players, I cannot control the outside but what I can control is the players who are here and I can assure you they are still very motivated and train very well."

15. MODRIC RECEIVING PASS FROM ZIDANE, KICKING THE BALL AND SCORING GOAL

16. REAL MADRID PLAYER KICKING THE BALL, COURTOIS BLOCKING THE BALL

17. MENDY KICKING THE BALL, LUNIN BLOCKING THE BALL

18. ISCO KICKING THE BALL AND SCORING GOAL

19. FORWARD MARIANO KICKING THE BALL WITH HEAD AND SCORING GOAL

20. MARIANO AFTER GOAL

21. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REAL MADRID COACH ZINEDINE ZIDANE SAYING:

"It hurts me because they want to play, and when you think about everything we have lived through with Marcelo and Isco. It's difficult situation, it's the downside of being a coach but one I have to deal with."

22. LUNIN KICKING THE BALL, BENZEMA RECEIVING THE BALL AND PASSING IT TO MARCO ASENSIO, ASENSIO PASSING IT BACK TO BENZEMA

23. ASENSIO AND MARIANO RUNNING

24. LUCAS VAZQUEZ AND ISCO RUNNING

25. MODRIC AND CASEMIRO RUNNING

26. REAL MADRID PLAYER KICKING THE BALL AND SCORING GOAL

27. DEFENDER MARCELO KICKING THE BALL AND SCORING GOAL

STORY: Eden Hazard will return to the Real Madrid side for Wednesday's La Liga match away to Elche after over a month out injured, coach Zinedine Zidane said on Tuesday (December 29).

Real's record signing has only been able to make three league starts this season and has not featured since injuring his hamstring in a November defeat to Alaves. His last campaign was blighted by two serious ankle injuries.

"Eden will be there tomorrow and our plan is for him to play a bit," Zidane told a news conference in Madrid.

"The other day we decided not to but we want him to play and to make the most of him."

Hazard's return comes at the right time for Madrid, who are expected to be without Brazilian forward Rodrygo for up to three months after injuring his hamstring in the 2-0 win over Granada before the Christmas break.

Real are second in the standings and level on points with leaders Atletico Madrid, who have two games in hand.

Zidane's side are on a run of six consecutive wins in all competitions, which has coincided with him rotating his squad to a lesser extent than at the start of the campaign, when the team suffered as a result and lost five matches in three months.

The French coach conceded that his recent team selections demanded more of his players but said there was no increased risk of injuries.

He added it was hard to repeatedly leave out long-serving players such as Marcelo and Isco, but does not want to let either of them go in the January transfer window.

"It hurts me because they want to play, and when you think about everything we have lived through with Marcelo and Isco. It's difficult, it's the downside of being a coach but one I have to deal with," he said.

"I count on all my players and I can assure you they are still very motivated and train very well."

(Production: Miguel Gutierrez)