Zidane praises Hazard after Real Madrid star says sorry for laughing with ex-Chelsea teammates

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Steve Nicol defends Eden Hazard over Chelsea photo (2:04)

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol says the reaction to Eden Hazard's actions after the Chelsea match are over the top. (2:04)

Zinedine Zidane has praised Eden Hazard for apologising after being caught laughing and joking with Chelsea players after Real Madrid's Champions League exit, backing the forward to "get through this" and saying "he knows what he has to do on the pitch."

TV cameras showed Hazard chatting with former teammate Kurt Zouma and Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy on the pitch at Stamford Bridge in the moments after Madrid's 2-0 loss.

"I am sorry... it was not my intention to offend the Real Madrid fans," Hazard said on Instagram on Thursday.

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"Eden Hazard has said sorry about the other day. He did it well, it wasn't his intention to hurt anyone," Zidane said in a news conference ahead of Real Madrid's La Liga clash with Sevilla.

"That's the most important thing. Eden is a Real Madrid player and he'll compete for Real Madrid.

"He knows what he has to do on the pitch and he'll do it. We spoke after the game the other day, to say that he would say sorry. That's all, for me, for the club, for the players, that's all. It happened and now we have to focus on football."

Hazard made his return from injury in March -- the latest in a frustrating two-year spell at the Bernabeu so far -- and started Madrid's semifinal second leg defeat to former team Chelsea.

He has scored just three times in La Liga and once in the Champions League since signing in the summer of 2019.

"So far we haven't been able to see the Eden Hazard that people want to see," Zidane said.

"I think he will get through this. It's a complicated moment, but he has a contract and he wants to succeed here. I hope that soon he'll show what he is as a player."

Real Madrid will face Sevilla without captain Sergio Ramos, with the club confirming on Saturday that the defender was suffering from tendinitis in his left hamstring.

Ramos has also struggled with repeated injuries in recent months, and with his contract expiring this summer, there has been speculation the Chelsea match could have been his last for the club.

"No, the worry is tomorrow's game," Zidane said, when asked if that was a concern.

"Unfortunately Sergio has an injury. The rest will be sorted out and hopefully soon... The other day he was 100%, in training he was perfect. Then after 90 minutes he felt something. I don't know [if he'll be back this season]. The sooner the better."

Zidane -- who has a contract until 2022 -- once again refused to clarify that he intended to be in charge of Real Madrid next year.

"We're going to finish the season," he said. "What I can say is I'll make it easy for the club, always. The club has always given everything to me, so I'll make it easy. But that isn't the point, the point is tomorrow, four games left, and ending the season well. The rest is 'blah blah blah.'"