Make no mistake, another loss to cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid will have hit Real where it hurts.
Forget the loss of a potential world record run of wins. When all is said and done, any stat becomes irrelevant unless there is silverware at the end of it.
The tiredness seeping into Real's last few games will disappoint supporters of the club and it's something that Carlo Ancelotti will need to get a grip on in the very near future.
A virtual guarantee of three points in their next league match against Espanyol should keep everyone happy and leave Los Blancos sitting pretty atop La Liga.
Difficult, not impossible
But then comes a very interesting return at the Santiago Bernabeu against Atleti.
At 2-0 down, Real's task is difficult but not impossible. If the Rojiblancos score one however, then Real have to get four because of the old "away goals count double" rule.
Whilst the Italian will want to ensure that his team remains competitive, his selection on the night will tell us much.
Taking a longer term view that this game is already lost so he can rest key players might be defeatist, but could be sensible given current circumstances.
El Clasico awaits
Should Real take the game to Atleti and then triumph, they will face two El Clasico's with Barcelona over the following two week period.
We've seen already in both of their games this year that Real are slowing their play down quite significantly but they would certainly want to be firing on all cylinders against their biggest rivals.
Arguably the toll that those two games would take on Real could end up being fatal to their chances of success in the latter half of the season.
With respect to the Copa Del Rey as a competition, both La Liga and the Champions League are more prestigious.
Real also have the chance to become the first team in the modern era to retain the Champions League in it's current format. Something that you would've said would be nailed on two weeks ago.
Rest required and beneficial
Two weeks rest whilst Atleti would then go head-to-head with the Catalans is of obvious and added benefit to Real and will allow all of the star players to recharge batteries that have been on the go constantly since August.
Lest we forget that whilst everyone else was on their holidays at Christmas time, Real were winning the Club World Cup and then travelling to Dubai for a meaningless friendly. It's bound to take it's toll eventually.
Short-term pain for long-term gain is definitely something Ancelotti should be seriously considering at this point.
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