Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has denied reports Eden Hazard has suffered a setback in his recovery from his latest injury.
The Belgian winger, who has been sidelined since the beginning of February with a muscle problem, has been pictured in light training outside on the grass with his team-mates, suggesting he is edging closer to a return.
However, reports in the Spanish media claimed Hazard had felt some discomfort that forced him off the training pitch – but his manager insists his recovery is on track.
When asked by reporters about rumours regarding Hazard, Zidane said: “There is no relapse. We want him to be 100 per cent when he can return.
”This is what he is doing, little by little, without haste.
“We know how important he is in our team, but we have to go with how he feels. It is important that, when he returns, he feels strong and 100 per cent.
“We are not going to risk anything on his return. He is progressing very well, and I hope that next week maybe he can be with us for good.”
Hazard has suffered from a host of injury problems since his €100 million (£88m/$120m) move from Chelsea in the summer of 2019.
He made just 26 appearances last campaign because of hamstring, foot and ankle problems. This season he has already suffered two separate muscle injuries as well as a spell out due to Covid-19, meaning he has made just 13 appearances in all competitions.
Zidane said last month that he was hopeful Hazard would be fit in time for Real’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Atalanta on March 16.
If Hazard does resume full training next week as Zidane hopes, then that would give him around 10 days to get up to speed for that game.