Pep Guardiola believes the Belgian’s struggles could be on his new club rather than the player himself. Manchester City gaffer questioned Real Madrid’s role in Eden Hazard’s issues to settle in La Liga.
Hazard procured a dream move to Los Blancos from Chelsea in June last year for a reported fee of $110m.
After questions were raised over the 29-year-old’s fitness in pre-season, Hazard has struggled to perform strongly for Real to date, using a series of accidents not helping his cause.
Currently recovering from a foot injury, the Belgian has one goal and four assists to show out of his first 13 appearances for his new club.
Having seen Hazard up close in the Premier League, Guardiola considers the participant’s quality can not be questioned and any dip in form is down to Los Blancos.
“If he is not playing well, something is going on at Madrid because he is really good,” Guardiola said on Post United in a meeting with YouTuber ‘DjMaRiiO’.
“Not a leading player, another level over. What we saw in England… he’s world-class. But the whole world knows that you will need a period of adaptation.”
Hazard was in line to play his first match of 2020 on Thursday when Real Madrid undertake Real Sociedad in their Copa del Rey quarter-final but he has failed to make Zinedine Zidane’s matchday squad.
The French boss is eager to exploit the Belgian attacker in seasons to come but is clearly cautious about rushing his return to action.
“We are pleased to have Eden Hazard. He had a bad injury and as time has gone he has got better,” Zidane said on Wednesday.
“We are happy to have a player like Eden and we will try to make the most of him during the many years he’ll be with us. The Madridistas are extremely happy too.”
While somewhat critical of Real Madrid’s handling of Hazard to date, former Barcelona boss Guardiola admits he misses taking the club in El Clasicos.
“A little bit, yes. Every year it was the match of the century,” Guardiola said of the great rivalry. “Here it is very different. In terms of the media, it’s totally different.”
The Manchester City manager will get the opportunity to return to the Santiago Bernabeu in late February when his side tackles Zidane’s men in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 clash.