Eden Hazard has endured injury after injury since leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid but he has warned his former teammates his “body is better” ahead of next week’s Champions League semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge.
The first meeting between the two sides in the last four came yesterday at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. The game ended 1-1 with Christian Pulisic putting the Blues ahead in the first half.
Chelsea had countless chances during the opening 20 minutes and were made to pay for not taking them when Karim Benzema rifled home an equaliser after Thomas Tuchel’s side failed to clear a cross into their penalty area.
Hazard was introduced in the second period with Real attempting to find a winner against his former club. It was only the Belgian star’s second game back having recovered from a muscle injury but he did produce one moment of quality with a lovely ball through the Chelsea defence for Alvaro Odriozola.
The 30-year-old will be hoping to improve his match fitness this weekend when Real take on Osasuna and he may be ready to make his return to the Madrid starting XI when they travel to Stamford Bridge – a stadium Hazard once called home – next Wednesday.
“I think I just want to go step-by-step,” he told BT Sport after last night’s game. “Of course, I want to play, I want to be on the pitch but in the last game I played 15 minutes, today I played a bit more.
“We have a couple of good games to play before the end of the season, so I just want to be ready for them. Now I feel better, my condition is better and my body is better, so I’m happy I can play again.”
Hazard spent seven years as a Chelsea player during which he won two Premier League titles, two Europa Leagues, an FA Cup and a League Cup.
And while he admitted it was nice to play against opponents he considers friends, the Real Madrid star insisted was only focused on helping his current side claim a positive result.
Now I’m a Real Madrid player, I just want to win – it doesn’t matter if it’s Chelsea against us or another team, I just want to win. But yeah, it’s always good to see some good faces.”
Hazard added: “It [the 1-1 scoreline] could be worse and it could be better. We have a second-leg to play over there, now we have to think about the weekend game against Osasuna, try to take three points and then we have to go there to try and win the game.”