Soccer-Footage of Hazard laughing with Chelsea players upsets Real Madrid fans

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Semi Final Second Leg - Chelsea v Real Madrid - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - May 5, 2021 Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta in action with Real Madrid's Eden Hazard REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

(Reuters) - Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard has upset supporters by appearing to laugh with Chelsea players after his former club knocked the Spanish team out of the Champions League.

Chelsea beat Real 2-0 on Wednesday in their semi-final second leg, securing a 3-1 victory on aggregate. Hazard, who joined Real from Chelsea in 2019, failed to impress in either game after recently returning from injury.

Shortly after the final whistle, television cameras showed the Belgian congratulating and laughing with Chelsea players Kurt Zouma and Edouard Mendy. The footage, shown on social media, prompted criticism by Real supporters.

"Someone explain this to me because I do not understand it," former Real winger Javier Balboa wrote in a Tweet accompanied by angry emojis.

Some soccer commentators and former players were also surprised.

Don Hutchinson, a former Liverpool player, said he had witnessed "bizarre scenes" and that he would not have expected a similar reaction from Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the Champions League four times with Real and once with Manchester United.

"Eden Hazard is laughing with Kurt Zouma and Edouard Mendy. It's a Champions League semi-final," Hutchinson told BBC Radio 5 live. "I know they're his friends but I can't imagine Cristiano Ronaldo coming off the pitch for Real Madrid laughing."

Hazard's two seasons in Spain since becoming Real's record signing have been riddled with injuries that have prevented him from hitting top form.

Real coach Zinedine Zidane said he had no regrets about picking Hazard and defender Sergio Ramos for the Chelsea game despite the pair only recently returning from injury.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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