Zinedine Zidane says Eden Hazard is ready to return for Real Madrid against Celta Vigo in La Liga clash

French manager says that having the Belgian international back for Sunday's game will be 'like signing a new player'

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian defender Marquinhos (R) challenges Real Madrid's Belgian forward Eden Hazard during the UEFA Champions League group A football match against Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on November 26, 2019. / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS
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Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has said forward Eden Hazard will play his first game since November in Sunday's La Liga match at home to Celta Vigo.

Hazard, who Real signed from Premier League side Chelsea last summer for a club record fee of €100 million (Dh 410m), has only made seven league starts for the Spanish side and has been absent since hurting his ankle in the 2-2 Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain on November 26.

The Belgium international returned to training two weeks ago but was not deemed match fit for the derby against Atletico Madrid or last Sunday's game at Osasuna.

"We know what he brings to the team, that's why we signed him, and now is the right time for him to return," manager Zinedine Zidane said yesterday, ahead of the match with Celta.

"I'm very happy that he has returned. After three months out it's like we have signed a new player. We had to be careful with him, give him a little more time and not hurry him back, but he'll be with us tomorrow. He's ready to play."

Real are top of La Liga and lead nearest challengers Barcelona by three points after a run of five league wins in a row.

They face Manchester City in a Champions League last-16 first leg at the end of the month, although Zidane was unsure whether Hazard would be able to start against the Premier League champions.

"We have to make sure he is in good shape. He hasn't played for three months so it's a question of whether he is up to speed. But at the moment he is fit enough to be in the squad," said Zidane.

City have been hit with a two-year ban from European competition as of next season by Uefa, but Zidane said he did not think the sanction would affect Real's match with them.

"I don't know what's going to happen. With respect to the sanction I don't want to get into that matter. It's not my job," he said.

"What I'm going to say to you is to talk about football when we play against them. They are a very competitive team, very strong and this isn't going to change."

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Group A - Real Madrid v Paris St Germain - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - November 26, 2019  Real Madrid's Eden Hazard receives medical attention after sustaining an injury   REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo
Real Madrid's Eden Hazard after injuring his ankle against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League group match in November. Reuters