Carlo Ancelotti has refuted suggestions he has a "cold" relationship with Eden Hazard, attributing the Belgian's lack of playing time at Real Madrid to the fine form of Vinicius Junior.
Hazard's Madrid career has been blighted by injuries, and he has featured for just 297 minutes across all competitions this season, with only 98 of those minutes coming in LaLiga.
In an interview with Belgian broadcaster RTBF, Hazard outlined his respect for Madrid boss Ancelotti but revealed the duo "don't talk to each other".
Despite that, Hazard – who has just over 12 months remaining on the five-year deal he signed upon joining Madrid in 2019 – confirmed he wishes to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu next season.
Asked about those comments at a press conference to preview Wednesday's Champions League fixture against Liverpool, Ancelotti said: "The relationship is not cold.
"I don't talk much with him, but talking is a matter of character. Sometimes you talk more with one person than with another, it happens when you have kids as well!
"I respect Hazard, I value his thoughts. That's the most important thing, as far as I'm concerned.
"He's not playing because there is so much competition, because Vinicius is playing in his position and doing very well."
Pressed on the former Chelsea winger's future, the Italian simply replied: "For next year I have the players that the club makes available to me."
Ruthless @Benzema || #UCL pic.twitter.com/nzBID6MNey— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 13, 2023
Vinicius tops Madrid's charts for both goals (19) and assists (nine) across all competitions this term, a fact which has not aided Hazard's bid for regular minutes on the left flank.
While the Brazilian has recently attracted criticism in Spain for his attitude towards referees, Ancelotti is focused on his extraordinary talents and believes he can "write history" with Los Blancos.
"I think he's progressed a lot, he's come a long way and his attitude is good," Ancelotti said of Vinicius. "He has to focus on playing. That's what he does well.
"I think he is on the right track to write the history of Real Madrid in the coming years, as [Luka] Modric, Karim [Benzema] and Casemiro have done and others continue to do. Our group has been fantastic."