EDEN Hazard suffered another injury setback as Real Madrid were beaten 2-1 at home by Alaves in La Liga.
Hazard, making only his third league start of the season and fourth in all competitions, was substituted after just 28 minutes with a leg injury.
Lucas Perez’s fifth-minute penalty put Alaves in front after Victor Laguardia’s header struck Nacho’s arm.
Joselu then slotted into an open goal after keeper Thibaut Courtois’ bad pass before Casemiro’s late consolation.
A third league game without victory for Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid side leaves them fourth in the table, six points behind Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid and two behind third-placed Valencia.
Hazard, 29, joined Real Madrid from Chelsea for a fee in excess of £150m in 2019.
But the Belgium international has made just 27 appearances for Zidane’s side since his big-money move.
Hazard missed the start of the season with a muscular injury to his right leg and managed three appearances before testing positive for coronavirus at the start of November.
He has since started against Villarreal on 21 November and scored a penalty in Wednesday’s Champions League win over Inter Milan, playing 65 and 78 minutes respectively in those matches.
But the forward lasted for less than half an hour on Saturday, suffering another leg problem on a frustrating night for Real at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium.
“Eden, I think and I hope it was just a simple knock. That’s what he told us. That it’s just a knock, that it’s not muscular,” manager Zidane said after the defeat.
The hosts began without several key figures. Captain Sergio Ramos and striker Karim Benzema were sorely missed in defence and attack respectively, while manager Zidane also had injuries to Dani Carvajal and Federico Valverde to contend with.
With three defeats, Real have lost as many times after 10 games this season as they did in 38 in their 2019-20 title-winning campaign.
They now travel to face Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday (17:55 GMT kick-off) in their penultimate Champions League group match, where victory would seal progress to the last 16.
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