Holders Real counting on midfielders and defenders to keep scoring - GulfToday

Holders Real counting on midfielders and defenders to keep scoring

Eden Hazard

Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard is set to return to play after missing the opening two games of the season with an ankle problem. File / Agence France-Presse

With their forwards still yet to produce as expected, Real Madrid will be counting on their midfielders and defenders to keep coming through in attack.

The defending champions’ forwards are scoreless through two games of the Spanish league season. The team opened with a 0-0 draw at Real Sociedad and salvaged a victory at Real Betis last weekend after a late penalty kick converted by defender Sergio Ramos. Midfielder Federico Valverde also scored in the 3-2 comeback win, with the other coming from an own-goal.

“It’s not only for the forwards who have to score, the midfielders and the defenders need to contribute as well,” Valverde said. “That’s our job, too, so Real can win.”

The team’s forwards, led by Karim Benzema, had already been criticized after the opening draw against Sociedad, which came just after the club loaned Gareth Bale to Tottenham.

“We have every player available and training well, that’s what matters,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane said on Tuesday.

“We are just starting the season and we want to keep improving. We know that we have to improve and we are working on it.”

Real visits winless Valladolid on Wednesday for their third match of the season. Their game against Getafe, which would have been their first, was postponed because of the team’s participation in the Champions League.

Zidane won’t be able to count on Toni Kroos, one of its midfielders who often contributes with goals.

Valverde should get to stay in the starting lineup, along with Casemiro and Luka Modric, who was on the bench on Saturday against Betis.

“It’s a healthy competition (in the midfield), it makes us all improve,” Valverde said. “I learn a lot from them. I take advantage of every advice they give me because they have won a lot already in their careers.”

Hazard ready for Real return: Zidane said on Tuesday Belgium’s Eden Hazard is set to return to play after missing the opening two games of the La Liga season with an ankle problem.

Hazard last played for the Spanish champions in August’s Champions League loss at Manchester City in his first campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu where he scored just once after suffering various injuries.

“I see him very close, he is as ready as possible, he’s training well with the team,” Zidane said ahead of Wednesday’s game.

“He trains regularly, and he’s doing well, and we’ll see how we play him,” the Frenchman added.

The former Chelsea attacker has been criticised by local media who claim he was overweight after he joined in July 2019 for a reported fee of 100 million euros ($117 million). He featured 22 times for Zidane’s men after sustaining foot and hamstring issues.

“He has a big problem in that sense where it’s bothered him for a long while, but now he seems to be doing better,” Zidane said.

Zidane has made no purchases during the summer with the Spanish transfer window closing on Oct. 5.


Spanish League fixtures (times GMT)
Huesca vs Atletico Madrid, Villarreal vs Alaves (both 1700), Eibar vs Elche, Real Madrid vs Real Valladolid (both 1930)
Thursday: Athletic Bilbao vs Cadiz, Sevilla vs Levante (both 1700), Celta Vigo vs Barcelona (1930)

Related articles