EDEN HAZARD “worked like an animal” to get fit again in a “miraculous” return from surgery, according to reports in Spain.
The Real Madrid star underwent surgery on his injured ankle on March 5 in Dallas, USA.
And after returning to Spain – just days before the lockdown was enforced – Hazard worked day and night to get himself into two shape.
The former Chelsea winger, 29, first arrived at the Bernabeu nearly a stone overweight, a fact he himself admitted.
The Spanish outlet have revealed Hazard had the stitches in his ankle removed in April.
The former Blues ace then turned his house into his own private rehabilitation suite and home gym.
After two months of tireless work, Hazard stunned boss Zinedine Zidane with his new trim frame – with his fitness level through the roof.
Former Liverpool and Real Madrid star Alvaro Arbeloa – now a youth team coach – said Hazard has “returned like an airplane”.
He took a hit, which will do him good. He’s had a knock, a scare, but that’s football. He’s happy and not afraid.
Zidane on Hazard’s return to action
But Los Blancos bosses were all left sweating on Sunday evening, when Hazard took a knock to his bad ankle and was left limping in the team’s first game back from lockdown – a 3-1 win over Eibar.
Hazard himself revealed he was “OK” and suggested it was a blessing in disguise as he is now “more confident” about the state his ankle is in.
And boss Zidane – who tore into his Real Madrid team in the dressing room despite winning the game – was full of praise for Hazard.
The Real chief said: “We knew [Hazard] would lack a bit of rhythm if he played the full game, but he played well for an hour.
“He took a hit, which will do him good. He’s had a knock, a scare, but that’s football. He was fine at half-time, he was happy and he’s not afraid.
“He is happy with what he’s done and we’re happy with his work and that of the whole team.
“We have players up top who can always make the difference. I think when Hazard laid it to Sergio, he could have scored himself too.
“But he’s altruistic, so he gave it to Sergio. It’s unselfish and I love to see things like that.”
With ten games still to play, Real Madrid trail Barcelona by just two points.
Hazard will no doubt be wrapped in cotton wool and eased back into things.
But Los Blancos are hoping he can reinvigorate a stagnant forward trio in their push for their first LaLiga crown since 2016-17.