When Eden Hazard was announced as a Real Madrid player as he joined from Chelsea on June 7, 2019, few expected that his first Clasico appearance wouldn’t come until two years and four months later.
On Sunday, he will return from yet another injury much like those which have disrupted his first two seasons in Madrid.
In 2019/20, an ankle injury suffered in November 2019 saw him ruled out for three months, and then muscle injuries kept him out for much of 2020/21.
Hazard seems to have overcome those strains and pulls, and has now recovered and returned to training with Carlo Ancelotti in the three training sessions leading up to the Clasico at Camp Nou.
He returned from international duty with a slight strain, which left him out of the midweek trip to face Shakhtar Donetsk. This discomfort, not an injury as Ancelotti was keen to point out, was overcome and he returned to full training on Thursday.
With Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior undisputed starters, Hazard will do battle with Rodrygo Goes for a place in the starting line-up.
“When they play like that, it’s difficult to make changes,” Ancelotti said after the win in Kiev, but both Hazard and Fede Valverde will hope to come into contention.
Even if not, Hazard could make an impact from the bench, with Real Madrid keen to extend their run of four Clasicos without defeat since the forward joined the club.
Hazard himself has only faced Barcelona twice, in the Champions League last 16 of 2017/18, when Barcelona won 3-0 at Camp Nou after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.