El Clasico: Hazard Is Good But Can’t Replace Ronaldo – Messi
Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi, has stated that Eden Hazard, Real Madrid’s most expensive 2019 summer signing, is good but cannot replace Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi said this ahead of the El Clasico on Wednesday at Camp Nou.
Hazard joined the Los Blancos from Chelsea for $120 million last season, fulfilling his life-long desire to play for the 13-time European champions and improve the possibility of winning the Ballond’Or.
Speaking at a press conference, the Argentine superstar said the former Lille player is equally capable of unsettling defences, but cannot replace his long-term rival, Ronaldo, who left La Liga for Italy in 2018.
“Hazard has a lot of quality,” Messi said.
“He is a different football player who can unbalance [defenses], but I think he is different to Cristiano, with different characteristics.
“It is very difficult to replace Cristiano, but Hazard is also a great player.”
Eden could miss the trip to Catalan, after he suffered muscular tear in a Champions League game with Paris Saint-Germain, and is not expected to recover in time.
But Zinedine Zidane is expected to cope with his absence, given the threat posed by Karim Benzema, who has scored 12 times this season, and tied with Messi on the scorers chart.
Real’s away record could also work in their favour against the Blaugrana, compared to their home form.
“When we play at the Bernabeu, many more spaces are generated. They attack us more because they have the obligation as the host team and people push them for that.
“At the Camp Nou, they play another type of match, sitting a little further back, they are closer together and hit on the counter-attack because they have very fast players up front, he added.
“At the Bernabeu, we play 90 minutes equally. Here the game becomes more locked and is more complicated.”
Both teams sit on top of the standings tied on 35 points each, but the Enersto Valverde’s team are ahead on goal difference.