The German defender is excited by the prospect of coming up against his former team-mate in Europe’s premier competition

Eden Hazard is “one of the top players in the world” says Antonio Rudiger, who is hopeful that the Real Madrid star will be fit to play against Chelsea in the Champions League.

Chelsea are currently preparing for the first leg of their semi-final tie against Madrid, which is set to be staged at Estadio Alfredo di Stefano on Tuesday night.

Hazard is in line to face the Blues for the first time since leaving Stamford Bridge in 2019, and Rudiger is looking forward to testing himself against his former team-mate.

What’s been said?

“I had a good relationship with him here at Chelsea,” the centre-half told the pre-match press conference. “I hope I can play, honestly. If you want to win, you have to play against the best and Hazard is one of the best. For me one of the top players in the world.”

Will Hazard start the first leg?

Hazard’s 2020-21 campaign has been significantly disrupted by injuries, with the Belgian having been forced to sit out 31 games across all competitions to date.

Zinedine Zidane drafted him back for Madrid’s 0-0 draw with Real Betis in La Liga on Saturday, and the Frenchman says he will be ready to feature against Chelsea.

The Blancos boss stopped short of confirming whether Hazard will start, but has told reporters that the 30-year-old is in top condition.

“I don’t see Eden having any doubts,” said Zidane. “He looked very good on the field the other day. That was the most important, not feeling anything from his old problems.”

Hazard’s record at Madrid

Hazard has failed to live up to his €100 million (£87m/$121m) price tag since arriving at Madrid from Chelsea, with his commitment also being called into question amid his struggles with injury.

The Belgium international has only contributed four goals and seven assists in 37 appearances, and has yet to establish himself as a regular in Zidane’s line up.

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