On Thursday 14 January at 21:00 Athletic de Bilbao - Real Madrid CF will be played. The team that wins will face the winner of FC Barcelona - Real Sociedad, which will be played on Wednesday 13 at 21:00.
Eden Hazard is in Malaga with his colleagues preparing for Thursday's game. The white team had a hard time getting to and from Pamplona because of the snow storm, but that has now passed and Zinedine Zidane has his team in the Malaga city training in perfect conditions in the stadium that will host the semi-final and final of the Super Cup.
They could win the first title of the year. It seems that the Belgian player will start as he did last match against Osasuna after two games playing 13 and 16 minutes against Elche and Celta Vigo.
The Real Madrid fans are confident that, in this new year, they will finally be able to see Eden shine.
We are not going to count Hazard's career since he arrived at Real Madrid and the amount that the white team paid. We already did that in September.
What we do think is that Thursday's match is another new opportunity for Eden Hazard to begin to justify his signing with Real Madrid. The white fans have not yet seen the unbalanced player of Chelsea and one of the figures of the World-wide of Russia.
It was a personal bet of Zidane and as soon as he has an opportunity he counts on him in the initial eleven. A clear example was the Champions League play-off against Manchester City where the Belgian player did not even meet expectations.
Otherwise, it is Jovic's case. He also bets personally on the white coach, but he has not had the confidence and is on his way to Frankfurt. Neither of the two footballers has contributed anything to the team at the moment. Many millions. An investment, at the moment, terrible.
The question is whether Hazard will finally complete a good match and start to convince the fans or continue with the game without the risk of passing after passing backwards, without facing and elaborating one or two plays counted in the whole match.
To convince he would have to take responsibility, face in a one-on-one situation generating chances to score and even score. Be the unbalancing player of two years or more ago.
The French technician said this week that he saw the Belgian player very well, who had that tip of speed of yesteryear, who was one hundred percent physically.
This means that there are no more excuses. We must see the Hazard we all expect and for that he has to play a remarkable game.
Remarkable because there are important players who will remain outside the starting eleven and also the handicap of moving Asensio to the right wing. The Balearic was recovering his best version until Eden came in and had to move to the sidelines. Against Osasuna he was missing except for a great long shot. Hazard not even that.
Many advantages for Athletic if Hazard does not reach a high level and justifies his starting position. Vinicius, Odegaard, Valverde or Mariano will be on the bench ready to give their best. Isco will also be there, but I hope he does not give him minutes to the detriment of those mentioned above, who deserve it more.
Let's also hope that if things don't go well for Real Madrid the coach doesn't wait until the 80th minute to make changes.
The probable initial eleven will be:
Real Madrid line-up: Courtois; Lucas Vázquez, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Hazard, Benzema and Asensio.
Athletic Club de Bilbao lineup: Unai Simón; Capa, Yeray, Íñigo Martínez, Yuri; De Marcos, Vencedor, Vesga, Muniain; Raúl García and Williams.
We hope that the new Athletic coach, Marcelino, will line up Muniain, but he also leaves it on the bench by setting up a more defensive team.
The umpteenth opportunity for Hazard, let's hope he takes advantage of it. In any case, it will not be the last.