Real Madrid's big week starts now. By the time it's done Tuesday, Real could either be in strong position for two pieces of silverware—or their season could be all but over.
First, manager Jose Mourinho and his players have two matches against hated rivals Barcelona. Then they travel to Manchester United for the second leg of their highly anticipated UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.
On Tuesday, Real travel to Barcelona for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal. The teams drew 1-1 at Real's Estadio Bernabeu in January.
On Saturday, Real Madrid will host Barcelona in the second league meeting between the teams this season. The first league Clasico ended in a 2-2 draw at Barca's Camp Nou in October.
Barcelona lead third-placed Real by 16 points in the league and look certain to reclaim the title. But El Clasico is always intense, regardless of what the table says.
Then it's off to Manchester, where Real must either win or at least two goals in a draw in order to advance to the quarterfinals. United and Real drew 1-1 in the first leg earlier this month at the Bernabeu.
Even with all the pressure, Mourinho said these are the games he and his players enjoy most. In fact, he hinted that they're almost easier to prepare for.
"These are the type of games that we like to play, that everybody enjoys playing," Mourinho said in a press conference Monday (via Real Madrid). "I'm the same as the players. I prefer games of this magnitude, to what you might call the more straight-forward fixtures.
"So we're all ready to play, and we just want the games tomorrow and Saturday and in Manchester to come quickly."
Mourinho's comments appear in the clip above. So is he right to be confident, or is he heading for heartache?
Can Mourinho still guide his team to silverware? Or is this the beginning of the end? Let us know in the comments section below.
(Video: Real Madrid YouTube)