Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane admits Eden Hazard may not return to first-team action this season after suffering an ankle injury.
The former Chelsea star suffered a fracture to his right distal fibula during Saturday’s 1-0 La Liga loss at Levante – just a week after he returned from a similar three-month layoff.
Real Madrid have yet to make a comment on the length or seriousness of the Belgian captain’s injury but Zidane has suggested there may be hope of a return before the end of May.
The comments follow a report in Marca on Tuesday that there was a debate among the club’s medical staff as to whether or not Hazard should undergo surgery or not.
“I am not sure if his season is over, I don’t know but I hope it is not,” Zidane told his pre-match press conference, as cited by Marca.
“I do not know if he will need an operation, it’s not my area. I can see that he is not happy and it is important he stays positive but of course it’s a difficult moment for him – it will not be easy and he will feel like this for a while.
“There are very competent people who know more about the surgery and it is important to reach the right decision.
“He loves playing football and we hope to have him back as soon as possible.”
It follows comments from Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, as cited by Diario Sport, that Hazard would not return this season: “We are all very sad, because this injury will leave him out of action for at least three months.
“A footballer like Eden should always be on the pitch. We have excellent communication with Real Madrid’s medical team and we are anxious about Eden.
“It’s a shame, because it has also happened before an important game as that of Manchester City.”
Hazard joined Los Blancos from Stamford Bridge last summer in a move that was reported to have the transfer value of €100m, but injury problems have ensured he has featured in just 15 games for the club.
The former Lille player would have been out of contract in West London this summer, and this latest injury setback will be seen as a significant blow to Zinedine Zidane’s side, who face Manchester City in the Champions League this week.