Real Madrid are increasingly hopeful that Eden Hazard will return to the team in time for the game against Villarreal this weekend. Manager Zinedine Zidane is very much looking forward to the return of the Belgian international, who has the ability to come up with a moment of brilliance that can change the outcome of a game. Madrid have struggled for creativity and fluidity since pre-season.

Hazard was signed from Chelsea in a deal that could rise to £150 million and it would make him the most expensive acquisition for Madrid. The 28-year-old had a mediocre pre-season with Madrid and many critics argued that the star was too overweight at a time when he should be in the best shape of his career – just after sealing a very important move.

The former Lille man has always taken care of himself much better than his counterparts and he has also suffered very few injuries throughout his career. However, he was forced to miss the first two games of the season due to a thigh injury.

The Los Blancos are up against Villarreal this weekend. The match comes just a week after the disappointing 1-1 draw with Real Valladolid at the Santiago Bernabeu. Zidane is increasingly being frustrated by the lack of zing within the team. The club’s efforts to spice up the squad with the signing of Paul Pogba and Neymar is also not materialising.

Zidane may also not want to rush the player back from injury, as a return to the starting line-up could eliminate any excuses that Madrid can come up with for not sending the player to international duty next weekend. Zidane may want to protect Hazard and bring him back for the match against Levante just after the international break. However, he risks damaging the player’s fragile morale even further with a bad result against the Yellow Submarines.

The month of September could become crucial for the club in a number of ways. The away games against Villarreal, Sevilla, and Atletico Madrid. The latter two teams pose a lot of challenge after improving their squad over the summer. Atletico could even challenge for the title after coming close last season. Meanwhile, former Los Blancos coach Julen Lopetegui is in charge of Sevilla and he will be out to prove a point against Florentino Perez.

A player like Hazard can add a lot of firepower to the team, despite his performances with Madrid being quite underwhelming. He was unable to complete the training on Tuesday and he still remains a doubt to start the game. Meanwhile, Madrid could welcome Mariano Diaz back to the squad – without a starting role. The attacker is one of the several players who could be allowed to leave the club before the end of the window.

James Rodriguez, Rodrygo, and Brahim are still a few weeks away from making a return from their injuries. The upcoming international break comes at a good time for Zidane, who may get most of the players back by the time domestic football resumes.