Cristiano Ronaldo will not feature in the La Liga match on Saturday, after the Portuguese was ruled out with a thigh injury. Real Madrid travel to face Rayo Vallecano in a must-win game.
Considering Real Madrid will be the first team to play on Saturday, Zinedine Zidane's men will have the opportunity to apply pressure on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, while taking the provisional lead – a two-point one if they beat Rayo Vallecano -- in the La Liga. To do that, only a win will do, because otherwise it will give the other two teams in the title race extra motivation to get those three points at the weekend.
"It's a difficult game, on a small pitch," Zidane was quoted as saying by the club's official website. "We're up against a team who know how to play, who like to play, and put you under a lot of pressure at home.
"We know what it's like and it's going to be another very difficult game, especially early on. We're focussed, we're going into it well, on a good run of form. We have to keep thinking that they are three important points and we're going to work and fight."
Four games, including this one, remain in the La Liga, and on paper, at least, Real's fixtures are considered to be the most difficult, particularly since the Los Blancos, who are also in the Champions League, play three of those four games away from home. Zidane, though, knows home game or away game, it is all about doing the business.
"They are difficult games, three away and one at home," Zidane added. "At home, we've got Valencia, who are a good team and are playing very well. There are four games and we know what we have to do to have any chance. We will try and win our four remaining games to give ourselves that hope."
Finding goals and dominance against a Vallecano side in a relegation battle will not be easy, with that challenge made all the more difficult by the absence of Ronaldo, who picked up the thigh problem in the midweek win over Villarreal.
"He's had an ultrasound and an MRI scan. It's nothing serious, but he's got a strain and he can't play (on Saturday)," Zidane confirmed. "We'll monitor it in the coming days. He always wants to play. If you play him, it could work out, but he's staying at home and we'll see on Tuesday (for the Champions League semifinal first leg against Manchester City)."
Where to Watch Live
Deportivo vs Barcelona is scheduled for 4 p.m. CET (7.30 p.m. IST, 3 p.m. BST, 10 a.m. ET) start, with no live TV coverage in India. Sonyliv is the online live streaming option to watch the match in India.
Audience in Spain can catch Deportivo vs Barca live on Canal+, Abono and Movistar TV Futbol.
Audience in Thailand, France, Australia, Middle East, North Africa, US, Canada can watch the game live on Bein Sports, while the action can also be live streamed on Bein Sports Connect.