Real Madrid fans held their breath as Eden Hazard left the pitch in the 75th minute in Belgium's 2-3 loss against France on Thursday. Les Bleus advanced to the Nations League final, but Los Blancos supporters were more concerned about the Belgian forward's early exit from the match.
It was not a standard substitution, as the Belgium international and Real Madrid forward stopped running after completing a pass. He immediately stopped participating in the play and walked straight for the sidelines while taking off his armband. The gesture made it clear that he knew he would no longer be able to continue.
Leandro Trossard came in for Hazard, and the latter headed for the bench. Curiously, he did not receive immediate treatment from a team doctor as is customary for players who are taken off due to injury. As such, it is unclear exactly what happened and why he decided to take himself out of the match prematurely.
Almost a day later, no official announcement has been made about the incident. Right after the match, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said, "We are not sure what happened to Hazard. We will have to check in the next few hours what happens to him." It is said that he felt something, but the severity of the discomfort has not yet been confirmed.
Media outlets are speculating on a hamstring injury, and Real Madrid fans are not happy with the news. If it is true, then the number 7 will once again miss a number of matches for the club, much like his first two seasons. This is supposed to be his redemption year, with the Belgian himself saying that he wants to prove to the club that he is worth the money they have been spending on him. What's worse is that Hazard had been performing well before picking up the knock. He was showing glimpses of his glory days, giving hope that his return to form has arrived. Alas, the opposite may have happened.
It was a disappointing evening for Hazard and Real Madrid teammate Thibaut Courtois, who saw their 2-goal lead blown by the opponents. Meanwhile, fellow Real Madrid star Karim Benzema starred for France, scoring the first goal that kicked off their come from behind victory.