Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard has apologised to the club's supporters for appearing to laugh with Chelsea players after his former club knocked the Spanish giants out of the Champions League on Wednesday.
Chelsea beat Real 2-0 in their semi-final second leg for a 3-1 win on aggregate and Hazard, who joined Real from Chelsea in 2019 as their record signing, 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, drew criticism from Real fans and the Spanish media.
"I am sorry. I have read lots of opinions about me today and it was not my intention to offend any Real Madrid fans," Hazard posted on his Instagram story on Thursday.
Hazard's two seasons in Spain have been riddled with injuries that have prevented him from hitting top form.
"It has always been my dream to play for Real Madrid and I came here to win," he added. "The season is not over and together we must battle for La Liga. Hala Madrid."
Real could still end the season winning the La Liga title. They are second in the table with 74 points from 34 games, two points behind local rivals Atletico Madrid.
Hertha beat Freiburg 3-0 to move away from relegation zone
Hertha Berlin struck twice in nine minutes to beat Freiburg 3-0 on Thursday and earn a key victory in their battle to avoid relegation, in their second match back following a two-week quarantine due to the coronavirus.
Krzysztof Piatek fired in from a tight angle in the 13th minute and 34-year-old veteran Peter Pekarik scored their second with a header to lift their club, unbeaten now in their last five league games, out of the relegation spots and into 14th place with a game still in hand.
Freiburg came close to a goal three minutes after the restart but Nicolas Hoefler's clever header was saved on the line by keeper Alexander Schwolow.
A superb solo effort and fine finish by Nemanja Radonjic in the 85th made sure of the three points in a tumultuous week for Hertha, who will have played three matches in six days with their clash against fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday.
On Wednesday the club sacked former Germany and Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann from his role on their supervisory board after he had sent a racist message to television pundit Dennis Aogo.
Hertha, who also earned a point with a 1-1 draw at in-form Mainz 05 on Monday and still have a game in hand, are now in 14th place on 30 points, as many as Werder Bremen in 15th and Bielefeld, who sit on the relegation playoff spot in 16th.
Cologne are a point behind in 17th, while bottom-placed Schalke are already relegated.