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IMAGE: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane shakes hands with Gareth Bale. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters
Real Madrid’s preparations for the new season hit an untimely snag as marquee signing Eden Hazard was ruled out of Saturday’s La Liga season opener against Celta Vigo after sustaining a muscle injury in Friday’s training session.
A statement from Madrid said Hazard underwent tests after training which revealed he had injured the anterior tendon in his left thigh but did not state how long the Belgian forward would be out of action for.
Hazard, 28, joined Madrid from Chelsea in June for a joint-club record fee of 100 million euros ($110.73 million), their most profile signing in a busy close season for the 13-times European champions, who spent more than 300 million euros on new recruits.
Real are also without fellow winger Marco Asensio for the start of the new campaign due to a serious knee injury, while Dani Carvajal is suspended.
Zidane ready to count on Bale after months of uncertainty
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has vowed to treat Gareth Bale as any other member of the squad despite previously declaring his intention to sell the Wales forward, as his side prepare to begin the new La Liga season at Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Zidane has had a frosty relationship with Bale since returning to the Madrid job in March, having resigned the previous year after two strikes from the forward gave his side a 3-1 win over Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final.
The Frenchman used Bale sparingly in the 11 league games he oversaw last season and in July he said the club were trying to sell the player, even remarking that “the best thing would be if he left tomorrow”.
But in a news conference ahead of Madrid’s trip to Celta, Zidane challenged Bale to win his place back in the team.
“It looked like he was leaving but now he is here and now I’m going to count on him, just like all the oth
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