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El Clasico: Messi gives honest opinion on Hazard

El Clasico: Messi gives his honest opinion on whether Hazard can replace Cristiano

December 17, 2019 By Ali M.
The Argentine superstar shared his candid thoughts on the Belgian superstar brought in to fill the void left by Ronaldo.

El Clasico is upon us, with Barcelona and Real Madrid reigniting their rivalry. As a result, the topic of whether Los Blancos can compete with their Spanish rivals without Cristiano Ronaldo has rehashed despite the Portuguese star leaving over a year ago.

One man brought in to help with the void left by the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s exit is Eden Hazard. The Belgian superstar made the move from Chelsea to the Bernabeu over the summer and despite a rocky start, the winger has begun to impress as of late.

However, the question remains can the former Lille sensation replace Ronaldo? This question was posed to Lionel Messi, who is expected to start and take center stage in Wednesday’s Clasico.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner spoke to Marca ahead of the midweek showdown and answered a list of intriguing questions. The Argentine icon gave his thoughts on Hazard, hailing the 28-year-old but also pointing out why replacing Cristiano is impossible.

"Hazard has a lot of quality,” Leo 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 is tipped to miss the trip to Camp Nou. He picked up a muscular tear in the Champions League draw with PSG and is not expected to recover in time. Despite this, Zidane’s side should be able to cope given that their biggest goalscoring threat this season is Karim Benzema, who is the joint-leading scorer this term with 12 goals – he is tied with Messi.

Another thing that could work in Real Madrid’s favor is their away record against the Blaugrana compared to their dreadful home run – they have lost only once in four Camp Nou trips but have lost their last four Bernabeu encounters. Leo explained why Los Blancos frustrate Barcelona in Catalonia but not so much in the Spanish capital.

"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.

"At the Bernabeu, we play 90 minutes equally. Here the game becomes more locked and is more complicated."

Barcelona and Real Madrid sit on top of the standings, tied on 35 points each – Valverde’s side are ahead, though, due to goal difference. This game could either give the reigning champions an advantage in their title defense or shift the race in Los Merengues’ favor. Do not miss this clash!

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