Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly planning to use Eden Hazard as a false number nine next season.
The 31-year-old again found it difficult to show his best form for Los Blancos during the 2021-22 campaign, managing only one goal and two assists in 23 appearances in all competitions.
In total, the Belgium international has scored six times and registered 10 assists in 66 appearances for Real Madrid, largely struggling at Bernabeu since his big-money move from Chelsea in July 2019.
Hazard still has more than two years left to run on his contract, though, and he will be staying with the La Liga and European champions this summer despite the speculation surrounding his future.
According to AS, Ancelotti is planning to deploy the Belgian as a false number nine next season in the matches where Karim Benzema needs a rest.
The report claims that the position on the left of the attack is now closed due to Vinicius Junior’s form, while Rodrygo and Federico Valverde are ahead of him for the spot on the right.
Mariano Diaz and Luka Jovic are both set to leave Bernabeu this summer, though, which would leave Real Madrid short of options at centre-forward, and Ancelotti is keen not to overlo ad Benzema.
As a result, Hazard will allegedly be given the chance to operate through the middle, although Borja Mayoral could also remain at Bernabeu next term to boost their attacking numbers.
The Belgian missed a lot of football in the latter stages of last season, having undergone surgery to remove an osteosynthesis plate in his right fibula, but he returned against Cadiz in La Liga on May 15.
Hazard was an unused substitute for Real Madrid’s final league game of the campaign against Real Betis on May 20, meanwhile, and he also did not feature off the bench in the Champions League final.
“His plan is quite clear: he is staying and he is doing so with a lot of motivation because he has had a tough time in these last years. He wants to show his quality,” Ancelotti told reporters towards the end of last season.
Meanwhile, Hazard said that he wants to ‘show everyone what he can do’ at the club next term after a frustrating period of his career.
“The coach knows that I still have two years here,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws. “The first three years have not gone well. I want to show everyone what I can do.
“I’m still in my dream, I’ve always dreamed of this. My life goal has been to play here. My family has always been happy here, [and] even now they are.”
Hazard arrived at Real Madrid in July 2019 off the back of a successful spell at Chelsea, scoring 110 goals and registered 92 assists in 352 appearances for the London giants in all competitions.