Eden Hazard’s downfall over the past few years has been shocking, to say the least. When he joined Real Madrid in 2019, the Belgian winger was at the top of his game and was counted among one of the best players across the globe.
But, in his four years at the Santiago Bernabeu, Hazard has looked like a pale shadow of his former self. Injuries have had an impact on the 32-year-old’s inability to make an impact at the Santiago Bernabeu, but even when fit, he has been unable to stand up and make himself count.
Now, according to The Athletic’s Mario Cortegana, Hazard barely speaks to manager Carlo Ancelotti and their relationship has strained quite a lot in recent times.
The Belgian winger is of the feeling that the Italian tactician has not kept his promise of more game-time and feels let down by the manager. He is understood to be disappointed with the breakdown in their relationship which is almost ‘non-existent’ now.
The coaching staff are understood to see Hazard’s reaction as normal given the lack of minutes, but they continue to see him in the same light as the rest of the players in the squad.
Hazard’s contract with Real Madrid expires in the summer of 2024. But an exit could be on the horizon this summer itself.
As per the report, the winger’s representatives are set for a meeting with Real Madrid this month where his future will be decided. And all signs point towards the two parties agreeing two go their separate ways at the end of the season.
Signed over a club-record fee, Hazard has failed to live up to the billing at Real Madrid. At this point, a summer exit would be the best possible course for everyone involved.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.