The curtain will come down on a forgettable season for Real Madrid and the ultimately disappointing tenure of manager Jose Mourinho when Los Merengues host Osasuna in their final match of the league season on Saturday. Such has been the turmoil of the past few months that both parties will likely breathe a sigh of relief when the final whistle goes and they can go their separate ways.
Last year’s Primera Division title has failed to be built upon as Madrid have languished far behind Barcelona for almost the entire season. Most painful of all, Mourinho failed in his objective to bring the club a 10th European Cup as they lost in the semifinals for a third successive season. The disappointment was compounded two weeks ago when losing the Copa del Rey final to local rivals Atletico Madrid.
Saturday’s clash at the Bernabeu looks set to mark the end of an era with the possibility of several players departing this summer. Monaco-bound Ricardo Carvalho and on-loan Michael Essien will make their final appearances, while the same also looks set to be true for Gonzalo Higuain. There has been speculation too about the futures of the likes of Angel di Maria and Fabio Coentrao. The Portuguese full-back will unavailable for the final game, though, and he joins a long list of absentee that also includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira and Sergio Ramos.
One man that more than anyone will not be sad to see the back of Mourinho is Iker Casillas. The club captain had embodied the dressing room unrest as he has been left out of the side even after returning from injury in March. His replacement, Diego Lopez, will also not feature on Saturday and must be wondering about his future with a new manager likely to restore Casillas to the starting lineup.
Madrid’s opponents Osasuna should arrive in celebratory mood having secured their La Liga future with a 2-1 victory over Sevilla last weekend. Jose Luis Mendilibar will be unable to call upon Damia and Alejandro Arribas through suspension, while Miguel Flano, Lolo, Nino, Annan and Marc Bertran are injured.
Real Madrid (probable)
D: Arbeloa, Carvalho, Albiol, Nacho
M: Essien, Modric
Di Maria, Ozil, Di Benzema
D: Oier, Unai Garcia, Reuben, Nano
M: Silva, Timor
Cejudo, Armenteros, De las Cuevas
Prediction: Both sides take severely depleted squads into what is a meaningless season finale. Osasuna are unlikely to suffer a repeat of the 7-1 thrashing they received at the Bernabeu last season, but, with Madrid still having enough quality in their starting 11, the home side should still come out on top.
Real Madrid 3-1 Osasuna
Where to watch: The Primera Division clash will kick-off at 11 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by beIN Sport, with a live stream available on beIN Sport Play.