Zinedine Zidane does not know when Eden Hazard will be fit to play for Real Madrid as the Belgium star’s struggles in the Spanish capital continue.
Although Madrid successfully wrested control of La Liga from Barcelona last season, it was a campaign of personal frustration for Hazard following his initial €100million switch from Chelsea.
He managed a solitary goal and struggled to regain top condition after undergoing surgery on a broken right foot.
Hazard signed off his season with a lacklustre showing in Madrid’s Champions League last-16 loss to Manchester City.
The 29-year-old went on international duty during the recent break for Nations League matches against Denmark and Iceland but did not play a single minute and reports from Madrid suggested he returned to pre-season training overweight.
Before the start of his team’s title defence at Real Sociedad on Sunday, Zidane confirmed Hazard would not feature in San Sebastian.
“I can’t tell you when he’ll be able to return, just that he’s better,” he said.
“The important thing is how the player feels. We have time to prepare for the season.
“The only thing he has to do is be at 100 per cent and we’ll get to work.”
One creative talent ready to play a part is Martin Odegaard, who is back in the Madrid ranks after impressing on loan at Real Sociedad last season – to the extent that Los Blancos opted to recall the 21-year-old Norway international instead of allowing him to spend another campaign at the Anoeta.
“He’s our player and he can contribute to the team,” Zidane said of Odegaard, who also spent time on loan with Heerenveen and Vitesse after joining Madrid as a 16-year-old in January 2015.
“Players that come to Real Madrid are the best. We have another player and he’s a player that can be very important in this squad. I know I have the best players here.
“The important thing for the players is to be prepared and I think Martin, like the others, is prepared.
“Martin has changed because his trajectory has been phenomenal and he’s improved each year. He’s a more complete player now.”