Carlo Ancelotti said on Tuesday Eden Hazard has to keep the faith and stay professional as the Belgium attacker looks to revive his Real Madrid career.
Hazard, who cost Madrid 100 million euros ($115 million), has endured an injury-plagued two years since joining from Chelsea and he has not started any of their last five matches.
He was left on the bench for the entirety of last month’s Clasico victory over Barcelona while the 30-year-old’s most recent start came in Madrid’s shock 2-1 defeat at home to Sheriff in the Champions League.
Ancelotti said last week Hazard “has a coach that prefers other players” and when asked about him again on Tuesday, the Italian said: “He has trained well, it happens to a lot of players, they don’t play, they have to have faith.
“Mariano (Diaz) had never played a minute in the season and (in the last game) he played very well, he showed professionalism. That is what Hazard and the others who are not playing at the moment have to do.”
Madrid play at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions Leauge on Wednesday, the Ukrainian team they thrashed 5-0 only two weeks ago.
But the defeat by Sheriff means Ancelotti’s team still have work to do in Group B, where they sit second, tied on six points with Sheriff and only two ahead of Inter Milan.
“It is very important, winning or losing would change a lot,” said Ancelotti.
“Losing a game like this means we will have to win the last two. Winning means we will be very close to qualifying.”
Ancelotti said Brazilian forward Rodrygo will miss the match after he picked up a muscle injury in the win over Elche on Saturday.
Gareth Bale is training again after recovering from a hamstring problem but the Wales attacker is not yet ready to play.