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Real Madrid vs Mallorca

'He can play centre forward' - Ancelotti defends Hazard after subbing him after an hour in Real Madrid return

19:07 GMT+3 11/09/2022
Hazard Real Madrid 2022
Carlo Ancelotti has defended Eden Hazard's performance after he subbed the forward during his first Real Madrid start since January.
  • Hazard's first start since January 2022
  • Belgian subbed after an hour
  • Madrid went on to win in his absence

WHAT HAPPENED? With Karim Benzema injured, Hazard was selected up front for Madrid's game against Mallorca on Sunday. However, he struggled to make an impact, coming off with his side drawing 1-1 - and they managed to secure a 4-1 victory without him.

WHAT THEY SAID: "It's better to use Rodrygo as a nine with Valverde rather than just Hazard," Ancelotti told reporters after the game. "We had difficulties not because Hazard was there, but because the other positions weren't occupied by the others. Hazard can play centre-forward."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The setback came after Hazard performed well in Madrid's 3-0 win over Celtic on Tuesday. The Belgian replaced Benzema and went on to score in the 77th minute - only his seventh goal since joining the club in 2019.

STORY IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR HAZARD? Benzema could return to the fray for the Madrid derby on Sunday, with his hamstring problem not thought to be serious. Hazard seems unlikely to keep his place for that one if the Frenchman is fit, but he may feature against RB Leipzig on Wednesday.