Belgium international Hazard arrived at Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 to much acclaim but has had a stop-start time in Madrid due to injury. Injury struck again this weekend as Hazard limped off against Alaves in LaLiga.

Hazard played only 30 minutes

Eden Hazard has been excluded from the Champions League clash between Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk due to injury, but Karim Benzema is back in the fold. Belgium international Hazard arrived at Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 to much acclaim but has had a stop-start time in Madrid due to injury. Injury struck again this weekend as Hazard limped off against Alaves in LaLiga. He played only 30 minutes at home with a 2-1loss, after which coach Zinedine Zidane gave an injury update. “I think and hope it’s not serious,” Zidane said at his post-game press conference. “I hope he’s not muscular.” Zidane’s hopes may be realized, and the knock is the only problem, but with a simple three-day turnaround between the two games, Hazard was not included in the 21-man squad for Tuesday’s match.

Real Madrid have no consistency

Zidane expressed concern about the shape of his side following the defeat to Alaves. “I have no explanation,” Zidane said. “Today, we alternated good moments with bad moments. When they scored a goal three minutes later, it became challenging for us. The other day in Milan we had a good game and Today not. It is reality, our reality Today. We have to keep working, rebuilding players and change the dynamics. We have no consistency.” Benzema could provide the French coach that change in dynamics after being included for the trip to Ukraine. The French forward has not played for Real since scoring against Valencia on November 8 due to injury, but he went through training and will travel with the squad for a game, which will see them progress through the knockout stage with a victory.

Benzema’s presence at the head of the attack would be a welcome addition to Zidane. Real trail Borussia Monchengladbach’s at the top of Champions League Group B, but two victories from their final pair of matches – against Shakhtar and the Gladbach – would guarantee their progression as pool winners. However, an outing to Ukraine in winter is never welcome – especially for a side that has won only one of their previous four races in all competitions.