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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said he will not rush Eden Hazard into action despite the club’s top summer signing being ready to play.

Hazard, who joined Madrid from Chelsea in June for a fee that could reach £130 million, has been sidelined since Aug. 16 with a thigh injury and has yet to make his competitive debut.

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“Regarding Hazard, we have to go little by little,” Zidane said in Friday’s news conference.

“He has been injured for three weeks. He was back training this week. We have to go carefully with him. We know what the situation is, he is ready and that’s the most important thing. I will give him minutes here and there, not trying to push him too much to get the best out of him. We have seven games in 21 days and we need to use our heads with Hazard.”

Madrid host Levante on Saturday before opening their Champions League campaign at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Zidane said he will continue to rely on Gareth Bale, who has enjoyed a strong start to the campaign.

Bale was involved in a tense stand-off with Zidane during preseason, with the coach saying he was keen for Bale to leave.

“I’ve always said he has amazing quality,” Zidane said. “He is a great player. We all know what happened this summer. “I’m happy, he is happy. The fans too, we have to move forward. For me all the players are the best that we have and Gareth is one of them”

Asked about Bale’s comments in which he said he felt he was made a scapegoat for Madrid’s poor 2018-19 campaign, Zidane said: “We are all in the same boat, we are all guilty if things go wrong. We want to change things. It’s up to us.Comments and criticisms from outside will never change. We need to win more games.”

Madrid have taken five points in their opening three games and are fifth in the table.

“We know the situation already,” Zidane said. “We’ve lost points but this has just begun. We know all the games are important. We know the importance of getting points to move up the table.”

Injuries have been a problem for Madrid with Luka Modric the 10th player to be ruled out since the start of the season.

“Luka has had two games in three days,” Zidane said. “I hope Luka recovers as soon as possible for us. The fact that he is out injured and can’t play tomorrow we just have to accept it.”

Asked if there is an explanation for Modric being the eighth Madrid player to suffer a muscular injury since the start of the season, Zidane said: “No. Every club has similar problems. We have international players and that makes things difficult. But we work well [in training], I have confidence in the backroom staff, they are the best. After Luca’s injury we hope there will be no more.”

With Modric sidelined, James Rodriguez, who has recovered from a calf problem, is expected to start against Levante.

“There are always negatives and positives,” Zidane said. “There are players that can come in. This is the squad that we have and everyone is going to get their chance to play and contribute to the team.”

Among those players is Vinicius, who made his Brazil debut this week.

Zidane defended Vinicius, who has been criticised in recent weeks for lacking the spark he showed in his first season at Madrid.

“You don’t think he is the same player? That’s what the media thinks,” Zidane said. “I completely trust Vinicius and I’m the coach. He is 18, he is playing for Madrid. It’s like everything, things take time and he is in the process of doing well like everyone. Sometimes he won’t play. “

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