This could potentially be a terrible week for Real Madrid.
First came the aggregate 4-3 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semifinal. Now, Madrid could watch Barcelona lift the title this weekend.
Mathematically, Madrid still has a chance to win the La Liga title, not that anyone still expects a title challenge. The club is 11 points behind Barcelona. Should the Catalans lose and Madrid loses or draws, Barca will be crowned Spanish champions.
It's a testament to the club's expectations that season with a second-place finish in the league, a trip to the Champions League semifinal and the possibility of a Copa del Rey title is considered a massive disappointment.
Los Blancos will be able to stave off Barca's title celebrations should they get three points against Real Valladolid.
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
When: Saturday, May 4, at 2 p.m. ET
Watch: beIN Sport
What's at Stake
Aside from keeping the title off Barca for the time being, Real Madrid will also want to stay ahead of cross-town rival Atletico Madrid in the league table. Los Blancos are six points ahead at this point, so there's still that slight chance Atletico can overtake them. That would be a huge embarrassment to Madrid to watch Barca lift the title and Atletico finish in second.
Real Valladolid is comfortable in the middle of the table. The club doesn't have a chance to qualify for European football, and it's nine points off the relegation places.
What They're Saying
Most of the pre-match build is focusing on the future of Jose Mourinho. Following Madrid's Champions League exit, rumors regarding his possible move to Chelsea are hitting a fever pitch. Mourinho has gone on record to say that he's not going anywhere just yet (h/t BBC):
"When I decide on my future, my wife and kids will be the first to know, then the president and general director," said the 50-year-old.
"I haven't decided to leave. If I go, I will not give explanations."
Mourinho, who has previously spoken of his desire to return to the Premier League, added: "I'm working with total professionalism and I still have the same honour and pleasure to work for this club as I did a month or two ago. We will speak about the future after the end of the season."
At both Porto and Inter Milan, Mourinho left after having won a Champions League title. After three seasons of European disappointment in Madrid, he may not have the luxury of a fourth season to bring the club it's ever-elusive 10th European title.
Real Madrid Player to Watch: Raphael Varane
Sergio Ramos is listed as out for the fixture (h/t Marca). That leaves Raphael Varane and Pepe as the likely centre-back combo. Of the two, it's Varane who deserves the spotlight.
Prior to this season, you felt he had a load of potential. But you never could have expected Varane to be this good this fast. He's rapidly becoming one of the better centre-backs in the league. Granted he's prone to some silly mistakes, Varane is so far advanced considering he's only 20 years old.
Look for Varane to be the one marshaling the defense for Madrid. With Ramos out, this is a great opportunity for him to put in a masterful performance.
Real Valladolid Player to Watch: Jaime
Real Valladolid has only scored 14 goals in its 16 away league matches. It's pretty safe to say the club will struggle to get on the score sheet against Madrid. The best shot Valladolid has to get anything out of this match is to keep a clean sheet.
In order for that to happen, Jaime will likely have to stand on his head. Sure, it's up to the entire back four to play well. But there's only so much Valladolid's defenders can do to stop an attack like Madrid's.
It's not a matter of if Jaime will be tested but rather how much he'll be tested. Whether they're from Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil or Kaka, Madrid will have plenty of shots on goal.
This is not going to be a fun match to watch.
Madrid will still be coming down from the disappointment of going out in the Champions League semifinal. It was a frenzied comeback at the end of the second leg, but it was too little, too late. With not much to play for, it's fair to expect the Madrid players won't be itching to take their disappointment out on Valladolid.
On the other side, Real Valladolid will be sitting back and letting Madrid get out on the front foot. It's often the best way for lesser side to approach Los Blancos because it limits their opportunities to get out on the counter. While an effective strategy for Valladolid, it's not going to make a lot of fun for the fans.
With so much attacking talent at its disposal, Madrid will find the goals necessary to come out of the match with three points.
Real Madrid 2, Real Valladolid 0