Antonio Rudiger is quite literally making his presence felt amongst his new Real Madrid teammates, at the expense of Eden Hazard.
Footage has emerged of Rudiger cutting down his team-mate in pre-season training, a tackle bad enough to make Chelsea fans wince as well. And even Los Blancos stars gathered around watching the incident were stunned, with several players holding their heads in their hands and turning away.
The crunching tackle came in a game of rondo, a common drill where defenders attempt to intercept one/two touch passing from a big group of players. After an under-hit pass into Hazard, the Belgian international attempted to use his body to shield the ball and flick it backwards.
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However, Rudiger lunged in and his left foot went over the ball, clipping his teammate, before crunching into the forward’s ankle on his standing leg. The player dropped to the ground, instantly clutching the area of impact before rolling out of the camera shot in agony.
It has since been reported that the injury may now rule the former Blues star out of Madrid’s pre-season friendly against Barcelona this weekend. Hazard has never played in a Classico since heading to the Santiago Bernabeu, failing to feature in seven of the hotly-contested matches.
Injuries have been a significant reason for the 31-year-old’s underwhelming time in the La Liga, with significant absences meaning that he has not always been at his peak fitness level as well. And if Rudiger’s tackle on Hazard has caused somewhat of a significant injury, one can imagine that the staff at Madrid will be shaking their heads in disbelief.
The pair shared a dressing room at Chelsea for two seasons, winning the Europa League and the FA Cup together at Stamford Bridge. Thus, it is hard to see the aforementioned causing bad blood between the pair.
But Hazard will be wary of picking up injuries as he prepares for the 2022/23 campaign, especially as he is fully fit (pre-Rudiger crunch) heading into the season – a rare occurrence for the Lille star since joining Madrid. Opening up about his injuries, Hazard told the media recently: “When you play football, you just want to be on the pitch, and when you are out [of] the pitch… [You think] 'What's happened?' because I was not injured before and so it was something new for me to be injured, so you have to learn.
"It's a way to learn the way you have to do things, your body, you take care [of] in different ways, you work more with physios, this kind of thing. But it's a good challenge now… I'm healthy, so I'm just ready to play.
"It's not that easy, especially when you don't know why you're injured. I've been injured at my time at Chelsea, but not like those three years with Real Madrid. I knew that it was something wrong with my body, so that's why I asked to do the surgery at the end of the season last year."
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