Spanish Primera Liga giants have their eye on Europe as they go into this weekend's domestic action with the likes of Real Madrid coveting success and riches from the Champions League which starts next week.
Real Madrid have set themselves a target of a 30th league crown and a tenth European title in the knowledge that last year, when they failed to win the latter trophy, was regarded as something of a failure.
Having since added England skipper David Beckham to their ranks Real expect to achieve the double this time round and are already sharpening their knives for the arrival of Group F rivals Marseille on Tuesday.
First, however, is a home encounter today against Real Valladolid.
Both sides have taken four points from two matches to date in a somewhat lackluster start by the big teams after two rounds of matches which have brought a rather paltry 36 goals in all.
Real, still worrying about their defensive shortcomings after allowing veteran Ivan Helguera to quit and move to Qatar, hope talismanic Frenchman Zinedine Zidane will have recovered from the thigh injury which forced him to miss Thursday training.
Most of Real's foreign legion was on international duty in midweek and Brazilian stars such as Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos were excused training also as they trekked back from South America following a narrow World Cup qualifying win over Ecuador, the goal coming from Barcelona's Ronaldinho.
Real striker Raul will look to show that his two goals for Spain in Wednesday's 2-1 Euro 2004 qualifying win over Ukraine have brought to an end some modest form by his own exalted standards while Guti says he is looking to hold down a place in central midfield following the departure of Claude Makelele to Chelsea.
"I think I can be useful in several roles for the club," Guti told AS earlier in the week.
Valladolid coach Fernando Vazquez thinks he has a plan, meanwhile, to stop Real.
Noting that the loss of Makelele had left a defensive hole just in front of the back four he told Marca daily: "If we attack I think they will get disorganized and that will be the moment to get the ball off them."
Deportivo La Coruna, who are in Champions League action Wednesday at AEK Athens, travel to Seville, also today, as the only side to have taken a maximum six points from their two opening games.
Deportivo's Uruguayan striker Walter Pandiani, who has twice found the net already despite only having a bit role, has rubbed salt in Tristan's wounds by claiming the latter does not respect him.
Barcelona, who have vowed to close the gulf between themselves and Real Madrid this season, have only the UEFA Cup to look forward to in Europe.
But tomorrow they can look forward to three points away to basement side Albacete, without a point to date.