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Real Madrid recall star midfielder for Liverpool clash

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While there are some notable absentees, Zidane has been able to recall a key player for the Champions League clash with Liverpool.

Federico Valverde has made Real Madrid’s 21-man squad for the first leg of the club’s Champions League last-16 tie against Liverpool on Tuesday.

The Uruguayan midfielder missed Real Madrid’s 2-0 win over Eibar on Saturday after suffering a knock to his right leg against Celta Vigo on March 20. Zinedine Zidane, however, was hopeful he could return in time for Liverpool.

Valverde, who has spent the last week doing gym work and exercises out on the pitch with the team, reported for training on Monday, along with most of the squad, and did enough to convince Zidane of his fitness. The manager has, therefore, included him in his 21-man team for Tuesday.

Although Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos, and Dani Carvajal are out.

Zidane plays it safe with Hazard

Despite attending training for the second time in a row on Monday, Eden Hazard didn’t make the cut. The former Chelsea man has spent almost a month sidelined since his 15-minute cameo against Elche on March 13 with a psoas injury.

Keen to avoid any relapse, however, Zidane chose to not take a risk on Hazard until he is 100% ready to return.

“Eden has to be calm,” said the Real Madrid coach during his pre-match conference. “We never risk a player returning if he’s not ready.

“We’ll do things little by little and we’ll see when he’ll play again. That’s how it is at the moment.”

Dani Carvajal, on the other hand, is close to making a return. The full-back, like Hazard, is in the final stage of his recovery from a thigh problem and could make a return for Saturday’s Clasico against Barcelona in La Liga.

The other notable absentee is Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, who is still in rehabilitation from the muscle injury he sustained on international duty with Spain.

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