October 10, 2017

Boost For Ballon D'Or Nominee Hazard  (Sky Sports)

Eden HazardEden Hazard says his Ballon d'Or nomination is a boost, following his summer injury setback.

Hazard underwent surgery after fracturing his ankle during a training session with Belgium in June, consequently missing the start of the Premier League season before returning to action in September.

Since returning to fitness, the 26-year-old Belgium captain has played a key role in helping Roberto Martinez's side top Group H to seal a place in next summer's Russia World Cup.

Hazard joins fellow Belgium internationals Dries Mertens and Kevin de Bruyne on receiving a Ballon d'Or nomination and, ahead of their final World Cup Qualifier, Hazard said: "I missed football for three months. It is not easy to come back.

"I worked during the summer. I just want to play football.

"I just want to play football and try to bring the best out of me."

It is the fourth time the Belgian has been shortlisted for the prestigious award, having received nominations in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Asked whether he is back to his best, the forward admits it's too soon into the campaign to tell, Hazard said: "I don't know. I will say at the end of the season."

Belgium host Cyprus on Tuesday night, live on Sky Sports Football, with Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen poised to set a new record as the nation's all-time highest appearance maker.

The 30-year-old equalled former midfielder Jan Ceulemans' 96 caps and marked the landmark with a goal in Saturday's 4-3 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is "100 per cent fit" for selection, the manager confirmed.

Lukaku's been a doubt after an ankle injury ruled him out against Bosnia.

United team-mate Marouane Fellaini will not feature in the side, after suffering ligament damage at the weekend.

"We had the scan and it was a damage in the ligament. The damage could be very little, or very big," Martinez said.

"I think in the next few days we will have a clear idea of what the final state of the injury is."

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