It hasn't been a La Liga season to remember for Real Madrid, but that just makes it all that much more important to conclude the 2012-13 season strong against Osasuna on Saturday.
With manager Jose Mourinho coaching his final game for Los Blancos before heading to become Chelsea's new boss (h/t The Sun), Madrid are at the eve of a huge transition, as a new era will unfold for the club after Saturday's final whistle.
While the season's outcome and Mourinho's legacy are both set in stone, the players will have plenty to compete for Saturday, as they hope to put a positive result in the books after a league season that they'd like to forget after Barcelona earned the title in runaway fashion.
Osasuna sit in a tie for 15th place heading into the season finale and look to notch a solid performance to close things out.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know for this close-out contest.
When: Saturday, June 1 at 11 a.m. ET
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Watch: beIN Sport
Live Stream: beIN Sport streaming
What's at Stake?
For Real Madrid and their fans, all they can hope for in Saturday's contest is for Los Blancos to show glimpses of 2011-12 and score as many goals as possible.
No number of scores can erase the outcome of a trophy-less season for Mourinho and Co., but it would do wonders for the organization to go out with a favorable outcome against an inferior opponent.
In Osasuna's case, they don't often get to play one of the Spanish giants on the road, and every time they do, it's a huge opportunity to put themselves on the map. While they won't be finishing anywhere north of 15th place regardless, a win would be massive for Osasuna to build momentum for next season.
Real Madrid Player to Watch: Jose Callejon
Perhaps Real Madrid's most under-appreciated player, Jose Callejon should get another chance to start Saturday in this final league match.
The 26-year-old has come all the way up in the Real Madrid system, so he hasn't been able to garner the hype of a young stud working his way up the transfer market like many of his counterparts. But he's turned into one of the players of Madrid's future, and much of their future success relies on him.
If there's one player Los Blancos fans are waiting for to become an integral part of this club every match, it's Callejon. He showed promise in Madrid's last appearance, where he scored a goal in their 3-3 draw against Real Sociedad.
A big performance Saturday would do wonders for his confidence and the fans' confidence in him.
Osasuna Player to Watch: Kike Sola
There haven't been many players more loyal to their club than Kike Sola has been to Osasuna over the years, and that has been on display all season.
Yet again, Sola has led the club in goals for the 2012-13 La Liga campaign with nine and has been the main driving force in helping it to escape relegation year in and year out.
To put it into perspective, the next highest goalscorer for Osasuna has three goals on the season.
The 27-year-old forward will have his hands full Saturday, though, as he faces a world-class defensive unit. It won't be a usual level of intensity from Los Blancos, but it still won't be a walk in the park scoring a goal on them.
But if Madrid aren't ready to play top-flight football and defend, Sola could have a big game.
Storyline to Watch: A Final Parting Blow from Mourinho?
Instead of riding his star players through his final dance as Madrid's skipper, departing manager Mourinho has opted to sit star Cristiano Ronaldo as well as out-of-favor goalkeeper Iker Casillas for the season's final match, according to Fox Soccer.
Parting shot: Mourinho leaves Casillas and Ronaldo off roster for final match - http://t.co/zQAFqCPtIK— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) May 31, 2013
It's not all too surprising that Casillas didn't make the cut—he's been benched over the last few months despite returning to good health after a broken hand. But for Ronaldo to be scratched from any competitive match is an eye-opener.
Ronaldo has a whopping 34 goals on the season, and you'd like his chances to add a few more just for show. But apparently Mourinho wasn't thinking the same way, instead opting to rest his superstar player in his final game as manager.
It's not like Madrid will suffer from a lack of talent without these two dynamos on the pitch, but it's still undoubtedly interesting to see a manager on his way out make an odd decision like this.
We don't know if Ronaldo preferred not to play or if he was burned by the decision, but what we do know is that it's the last of many odd personnel decisions from the Special One.
Will Madrid send Mourinho out with a W?
It hasn't been Real Madrid's year, but they're just too talented to fold in a match like this—and with the chance to close out the season on a high note.
The Special One has been able to do some special things with Real Madrid, and his players will send him out with a dominating victory.
Real Madrid 4, Osasuna 0
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