There has been plenty of criticism bandied about this week, much of it aimed at ITV and José Mourinho. The English broadcaster cut the 'The Special One' off in mid-flow just when it seemed he would tell the world of his desire to return to Stamford Bridge. For once, Mourinho was left speechless. The reality is that he probably would have just said more of the same; thinly veiled flirting with his old flame without ever directly bringing up their name. The fact ITV did well to get the interview in the first place was overlooked, as Spanish and German channels held preference on such an evening.
The press in Spain were certainly unhappy with the Portuguese manager as once again he made it all about himself. El País described him as the master of spinning failure into "opportunity for personal aggrandisement, self-promotion and the construction of alternative stories." This was after he talked of English journalists treating him fairly and the Spanish 'periodistas' of hating him. Let's see if he feels the same in six months' time.
Miroslav Đukić has no such concerns. The Real Valladolid manager is the exact opposite of the coach he faces in Madrid on Saturday evening: "The goal is survival. We will go forward humbly, quietly and we will not do so by looking for Europe, because we are yet to achieve survival," he said this week. Their plan is working: they sit ten points from safety with just five matches remaining.
The defence is a problem area for Madrid: Sergio Ramos will miss this one with a muscle injury, joining Marcelo and Álvaro Arbeloa on the treatment table. Raúl Albiol is suspended, so Pepe and Michael Essien are certain to play at the back. Neither Karim Benzema or Gonzalo Higuaín trained on Friday.
Centre-back Henrique Sereno has fully recovered so Đukić has a full squad to choose from. Javi Guerra's strike last week means he should pip Manucho to the lone striker's role, despite the Angolan's ability to hold the ball up.
At the Bernabéu, Los Blancos are indestructible: they have not lost in the last 28 games there in the league. WIth Valladolid having won just four times on road all season, the hosts are as short as 1.03 in the double chance market.
It's three and a half years since Valladolid played at this stadium. Two goals from Raúl ensured a comfortable 4-2 victory for Real that day - it's 38.00 for a repeat scoreline. The last three meetings has seen both teams find the net, which can be backed at 1.75.
Cristiano Ronaldo has just one strike in his last four matches. The forward normally averages a goal a game, so get on him to score first at 2.70 or 6.50 to find the net from outside the box. Valladolid's Patrick Ebert has apparently caught the attention of Borussia Dortmund and is a decent 8.00 to net at any time.
Mourinho produced a sheet of paper with his list of achievements at Real Madrid in the pre-match press conference, in preparation of the grilling he was expecting to receive. It didn't include 'fortress-like home form' but it probably should have done. Madrid to win is at 1.16.
The visitors' best chance will be surprising Madrid early on as they try to take advantage of a European hangover. Mourinho's team has conceded the opening goal in four of the last six league games, but ultimately won five of them. It's a decent 20.00 for Real Valladolid to be leading at the interval yet lose the match.
Score prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Real Valladolid (9.00)