A dominating 4-1 victory over Ajax was a tremendous display of how good Real Madrid really is. Most impressively, they did it without some of their best players, as Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso and Iker Casillas all sat out.
With a tough Valladolid club coming to Madrid, though, Real will need to be at their best to take this match. Luckily for them, Ramos, Alonso and Casillas are all returning for this game, giving Real the edge in a crucial match.
Here is how each of these three stars will impact the match for Los Merengues.
Though Real had no trouble scoring without him, Alonso boosts the attack in a big way with his passing ability.
Alonso is currently second on the club with two assists, a number that could grow upon his return.
Regardless, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain should be thrilled to have Alonso back. They lead the club with 13 and seven goals, respectively, and are helped significantly by Alonso's contributions from his center midfield position.
With Alonso's return, Madrid has gotten back one of their best playmakers, guaranteeing an attack that will be extremely difficult to stop.
With Sergio Ramos back on the pitch, Valladolid will have serious trouble attacking in this match.
Ramos is a defensive star for both Real Madrid and the Spanish national team, capable of excelling as a central defender and a right back.
Ramos also brings a bit of attitude to the Madrid squad. He's been known to play rough, as exemplified in Madrid's December 1 match versus Atletico. The entire match featured physical play between Ramos and Diego Costa.
Madrid can always use a bit of that attitude, especially in a tough match such as this. As long as Ramos keeps his saliva to himself, he'll be welcomed back for his major impact on the pitch.
This may go without saying, but Real Madrid is always a better club when Casillas, their starting goaltender, is on the pitch.
The Spanish national keeper as well, Casillas is one of the best goaltenders in Europe, and he's on the short list in the world as well.
As Real Madrid's captain, Casillas also takes on a major leadership role within the club. Having him back on the pitch should improve the play of his mates and make scoring very difficult for Valladolid.