(Reuters) - Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard is the kind of special talent football needs but he may struggle to recapture his best form as injury continues to rob him of time on the pitch, Danish great Michael Laudrup has said.
Hazard joined Real from Chelsea last year for a fee of 100 million euros (90 million pounds) but his impact in Spain has been minimal due to two ankle injuries.
The Belgian made only 14 league starts last season, scoring one goal, and the 29-year-old is yet to play in the current campaign due to a muscle injury.
"Every time you think he's back he plays a few games and then he's out again ... it's so sad to see a great player like him and the weeks and months are just disappearing for him," Laudrup, who played for Real from 1994-1996, told the BBC.
"I don't understand what's wrong, he had some injuries at Chelsea but never this much ... I hope he'll come back but the problem is as you get older it's tougher to come back at the level you were before.
"I've watched him so many times with Chelsea and Belgium and really enjoy him because I think we lack these kinds of players in football nowadays, players who take the ball and players who go one-on-one or one-on-two.
"We need them, otherwise we just play the ball around and who is going to do the special things?"
Real visit Barcelona in the season's first Clasico on Saturday.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)