The attacker and Red Devils captain has missed out on selection for his country’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers, having not featured at all in 2020
Roberto Martinez has rebuffed suggestions that there is open hostility between Belgium and Real Madrid over Eden Hazard’s rehabilitation, stressing that “there is no war” between the two parties.
The influential attacker and Red Devils captain has missed out on selection for his country’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers this week as he continues to struggle with an ankle injury.
Hazard has now been convinced to not undergo a further operation at the behest of Los Blancos, despite the recommendation of Belgium’s medical staff that he do so – but the national team boss has moved to cool the notion that club and country are at loggerheads.
What has Martinez said?
“We are working in the same direction as Real Madrid,” the former Everton boss, who took Belgium to a bronze medal finish at Russia 2018 three years ago, told a press conference .
“There is a great relationship between our medical services. I assure Madrid and their fans that we only seek the best for Eden. The rehabilitation process has begun. The rumour and speculation in the media should be a thing of the past.
“We are in a situation in which the medical vision of the experts is that there will be no surgery. There is no division, there is no war, and we are all trying to find the best solution.”
The bigger picture
The 30-year-old has been beset by a series of problems since he arrived at Santiago Bernabeu in the summer of 2019, and has managed only 25 games in La Liga since then for Madrid.
He failed to win a single cap for Belgium in 2020 thanks to his prolonged spell on the sidelines, with Martinez forced to look elsewhere for backup options.
The former Wigan and Everton boss discussed the desire to ensure that Hazard can feature in this summer’s rearranged Euro 2020 tournament, for which Belgium are ranked firmly among the favourites.
“There are no dates [for his return], we only think about him, what he needs and that he is well,” he added. “I am sure he will return. Between us and Madrid we have to concentrate on giving him what he wants and needs.
“We are very optimistic about what can happen. Eden is in good spirits – he is disappointed that he cannot play, but he is already looking to the next goal. He is in the best moment of his career.
“There’s a long way to go before the Euros. Only from day to day can we have the final answer on his availability. I am optimistic that he will be at the Euros.”