Hazard still has 'important' role to play at Real Madrid after retiring from Belgium duty, insists Ancelotti
- Hazard retired from international football
- Has struggled to get minutes at Madrid
- Ancelotti considers Hazard 'important'
WHAT HAPPENED? Hazard announced his retirement from international football after Belgium's disappointing group-stage exit at the 2022 World Cup. The 31-year-old failed to make an impact in Qatar and has also struggled to find his feet at Real Madrid since making a big-money move from Chelsea in 2019, scoring just seven goals in 72 appearances. However, Ancelotti still believes in the forward and has assured that he will get the chance to prove himself with games at club level set to come thick and fast in the second half of the season.
WHAT THEY SAID: "I see him well. He has trained well. I see him better than before the World Cup, it's true. I'm sure that with all the games we have ahead of us, Hazard is going to be important," The Madrid boss told a press conference.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Hazard might still have hope of turning his Madrid career around, but the futures of Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio are still up in the air as both players will be free agents in the summer and can discuss pre-contract agreement terms with any suitors from January 1. The latter has also been linked to a move to Barcelona but Ancelotti is not concerned. "It's a situation that doesn't worry me because I see the players who are very focused," he said. "The club doesn't worry either because there's still time. Until June I totally trust these players. If they renew, I'm happy and if they decide to leave the club, I'll be glad too."
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Hazard will be hoping to get some minutes when Madrid return to competitive action after the World Cup break against Real Valladolid on December 30.