Ancelotti apologises to unused Madrid star Hazard: Getting upset is normal

By Sports Desk November 03, 2021

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti understands Eden Hazard's frustration and is sorry after being left on the bench again for Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

Hazard has only made one appearance in Madrid's four Champions League games this season, starting in the 2-1 home loss to Sheriff.

Belgium international Hazard has only managed five starts and five appearances off the bench in all competitions, totalling 409 minutes this season, with Vinicius Junior excelling in an attacking role on the left side.

The situation has led to speculation Hazard, who was a record signing for Los Blancos from Chelsea in 2019, could leave Madrid in January, further fuelled after being left to warm up and remain unused on the bench as Ancelotti opted to only make two changes against Shakhtar.

"Getting upset is normal. I believe getting upset is the fair reaction to manage this situation," Ancelotti said during the post-game news conference midweek. "I understand perfectly a player who hasn’t played.

"I also understand the feeling of a player who warms up for 40 minutes in the second half and finally doesn’t play. I am so sorry. I told the players: I am sorry, but I didn’t want to make any substitutions.

"Marcelo has been warming up for 40 minutes. And Marcelo has won many Champions Leagues. I am so sorry. My duty in this way is very ugly and complicated."

Hazard, 30, has only managed one assist this term while 21-year-old Vinicius added another two assists for Karim Benzema's goals against Shakhtar either side of Fernando's 39th-minute equaliser.

Vinicius has been involved in six goals in four games against Shakhtar in the Champions League (three goals and three assists) – more than against any side he has come up against in the competition. Forty-six of his total goal involvements in the Champions League have come against the Ukrainian side (six of 13).

The Brazil international has either scored (two) or assisted (three) five of Madrid's last six Champions League goals, while Benzema has either scored (three) or assisted (one) four of their last five.

"He's on a very good run, both in terms of goals and assists," Ancelotti said. "Both goals were down to him. The first one came about from his high press and the other was following link-up play with Casemiro and Benzema. He's in top form."

Madrid's win was marred by jeers from home fans at the Santiago Bernabeu, irritated by the side's inability to dominate the game.

The two teams both had 13 shots each, with the LaLiga champions having 6-5 on target as well as edging possession 55 per cent.

"Yes, I understand it because I know this atmosphere very well," Ancelotti said about the jeers. "It is the public that demand a lot.

"We have started well, but we went down a bit later. Too much control of possession, but not very aggressive defensively. It may happen and it is good actually to have the fans awakening us with some boos. It doesn’t matter, it helps us."

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