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Belgium manager insists Real Madrid flop Eden Hazard makes their team better

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Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 (h/t MARCA), Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has once again defended his captain and Real Madrid flop Eden Hazard, stating that he makes the national team better due to his talent and experience.

The 31-year-old Hazard has struggled since making the switch to Real Madrid and has completely fallen out of favour under Carlo Ancelotti his season.

Indeed, the Belgian winger has played just over 70 minutes of football in 14 La Liga matches, indicating how badly things are going for him at the club level.

Despite his lack of minutes and struggles to make an impact, Hazard remains a permanent fixture in the Belgium national team setup and Martinez has once again insisted that the former Chelsea ace brings a lot to the table even though he might be lacking in rhythm.

“Eden’s situation has changed a lot. We do not follow Eden to see what rhythm of the game or what intensity it has. We focus on the talent he has and the experiences he accumulates with the national team,” Martinez said.

“He is the captain, he has great influence over the rest and has shown great commitment. For me, that is the most important thing. We are aware that we are a better team when Eden is in our locker room.”

These comments came after Hazard stated in Belgium’s friendly encounter against Egypt on Friday. The Real Madrid star played seventy minutes against the African nation but failed to make any sort of impact.

But Martinez insisted that the team have a specific plan to help Hazard get through the World Cup, saying:

“The rhythm of the game and the minutes that he plays with Real Madrid can change his physical level in a tournament in which there are so many games in a short space of time. We have a very individualized plan to get the most out of a player who is very important to our team.”

Further discussing Hazard’s importance to the Belgium side, Martinez cited the fact that the 31-year-old is one of very few players to have more than 100 caps for the national team.

“I know that there will always be debate and that in a national team it is seen that the players are at a good level in their clubs, but with Hazard, we no longer value this situation. He is one of eight Belgium players to have over 100 caps,” the former Everton boss said.

“His role in the national team goes far beyond what he does on a day-to-day basis. We have confidence and blind faith that his talent, experience, and attitude make us a better selection.”

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid face Premier League, Saudi Arabia competition for free transfer target

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid are set to welcome two new stars this summer, Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, but the Merengues are keen on further bolstering their squad.

Owing to the embarrassment of riches Real Madrid possess in midfield, replacing Toni Kroos with a new signing in midfield is not seen as an immediate priority.

Nonetheless, interesting opportunities will invariably be evaluated closely and it appears the name of Adrien Rabiot has entered the club’s crosshairs.

Real Madrid not the only ones interested

But, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Real Madrid face stiff competition from Premier League clubs and Saudi Arabian teams in their pursuit of midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

The French midfielder is set to become a free agent if he chooses not to renew his contract with Juventus, a decision that seems increasingly likely.

Rabiot set to become a free agent this summer. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Known for his technical prowess and versatility, Rabiot excels at playing multiple roles in midfield and notably thriving as a goal threat with late runs inside the opposition box that tend to catch opponents off guard.

While Real Madrid have no shortage of quality in midfield, Dani Ceballos’ exit could pave the way for the 29-year-old to secure a signing for Los Blancos.

However, Real Madrid would have to outmanoeuvre both the financial prowess of Saudi Arabian teams and the competitive allure of Premier League clubs to secure Rabiot’s signature.

On top of that, Juventus are also not giving up on their efforts to try and renew the contract of the French international.

In any case, Rabiot is unlikely to be a priority target for the club but they will be sure to keep a close eye on how his situation develops.

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