More than three years since joining Real Madrid as the heir apparent to Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard finally appears to be set to play his first El Clasico. Los Blancos will be facing FC Barcelona in a pre-season friendly at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday night, and the €130 million signing may finally make his much-delayed debut against their eternal rivals.

Every player from both sides dreams of playing a glorious El Clasico, as evidenced by the words of new Barcelona signing Raphinha, who is eager to face Real Madrid for the first time since joining the Catalans from Leeds United.

Hazard became a Real Madrid player way back in 2019, but he was forced to skip the first four encounters with Barcelona due to various injuries. That has been the story of his career with the 35-time La Liga winners thus far, but he is still determined to get his career back on track.

Last season, even though he was declared fit for two Clasico encounters, manager Carlo Ancelotti opted against fielding Hazard. He had not been able to get regular play time yet, and the match against Barcelona is never the time to test the waters with players who are returning from lengthy injuries.

With the match on Saturday being a friendly, there is a good chance that the manager may be comfortable enough to give the Belgian his Clasico debut. After all, striker Karim Benzema may be rested as there has been some doubts about his fitness going into this match.

Ancelotti has been struggling to find a way to keep the squad stable during Benzema's rare absences. The number 9 was overworked last season as his presence was simply too crucial during the entire campaign. The manager wants to find a solution, and is hoping that Hazard can provide cover as a false 9 and ease the burden on the Frenchman.

Fans are also hoping to see Hazard rediscover his form that earned him the move from Stamford Bridge to the Santiago Bernabeu in the first place. However, the situation is fragile, and a recent muscle overload scare gave everyone the jitters.

However, Marca reports that he is indeed fit to play, and may even start. Hazard is more eager than anyone for that to happen, as he has never wavered in his desire to prove himself to the Real Madrid faithful.

Last season was a slight improvement, but he only managed to play 18 games in the entire campaign. With just one assist to his name from a season where they won three major trophies, the Belgian is fired up to make a bigger contribution.

During their trophy celebrations at the end of the campaign, he grabbed the mic and declared, "Real Madrid fans, I've been here for three years with so many injuries, with so many things. But next year I'm going to give my all for you," he said, to the delight of the Madridistas.

Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard has endured a nightmare with injuries at Real Madrid GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP