Clubs, Eden Hazard, Real Madrid, Spanish Primera División, Story, Transfers

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Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has described Chelsea forward Eden Hazard as “a fantastic player” and said he has been following the Belgium international’s career from an early age.

Hazard has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, and has never hidden his desire to one day play at the Bernabeu.

Since returning to the Spanish capital as manager in March, Zidane has commented publicly on several potential targets such as Paris Saint-Germain forwards Kylian Mbappe and Neymar as well as Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, who the Madrid boss said he “likes a lot.”

Asked at Madrid’s prematch news conference for the clash with Eibar whether the club should try to sign Hazard, he replied: “I cannot give you my personal opinion.

“But Hazard is a player who I have always rated, and who I saw a lot of and knew personally when he played in France. He is a fantastic player, but nothing more.”

Zidane replaced Santiago Solari after a dismal week in February which saw them eliminated from the Champions League, Copa del Rey and saw their slim La Liga title hopes evaporate — with three home defeats costing them in each competition.

And the Frenchman said a lack of goals following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer has been a huge factor in their disappointing campaign.

“We will see what we do next season, but this year [not scoring enough] has cost us,” he said. “I have the statistics.

“We must accept that this year we have had trouble scoring. I cannot say who will come and who will go, but we will have to change things, that is true.”

The futures of goalkeeper Keylor Navas and left-back Marcelo remain up in the air — and Zidane refused to give any clarity when asked directly about their situation.

“We will see,” he said. “Marcelo is an important player for what he has done here.

“We want him to finish the season well, that is our only concern at the moment. Keylor has a contract here. We will see at the end of the season. I like Keylor a lot as a player and a person. I’ve not yet decided [which players will leave].

“We still have a month and a half left to play.”

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