But the news today was split. Not only does this result make it increasingly difficult to see any chance for Real to now win La Liga, but Cristiano Ronaldo's injury at the 8th minute of the first half put a deep crease on coach Carlo Ancelotti's brow. To add insult to injury, the draw makes things better for archrivals Barcelona who still have to play La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, at the Camp Nou in a couple of weeks.
Valladolid, meanwhile, were celebrating their point earned as it put them just out of the relegation zone, ahead of Getafe by a single goal differential.
Ronaldo's injury was strange. He went on a sprint toward the Valladolid goal, shaking defenders left and right, when he was brought down by a collision rather than a trip. The last Valladolid defender obstructed his path simply by putting his body in the way and forcing the collision. Ronaldo got up and seemed fine until a few minutes later when an attack on his side of the field found him telling his teammate not to include him in the play. Soon he was walking slowly toward the sidelines and Alvaro Morata replaced him.
The first half was tense as both teams were focused on their needed results, a Real win and any points on Valladolid's side. The possession arrow favored Real throughout but the dangerous, potential goal-scoring plays were even, until the 35th minute. Were the draw and the injury not news enough Sergio Ramos was vying for headline honors just by himself.
Having already scored two goals against Bayern Munich to advance his team to the finals of the Champions League, and becoming a father yesterday, today the center back was in line to take free kicks as both Ronaldo and Gareth Bale were unavailable. So when a foul occurred that favored a right footed kicker, Ramos stepped up. His boomer went over the wall and rifled past the outstretched hands of the ineffectual dive by Valladolid keeper, Jimenez Merlo, for the opening score line: Real 1, Valladolid 0.
The game remained tense as the second half opened and eight yellow cards were eventually accumulated, a number of which should have been reds. But one got the feeling that Valladolid was closer to the tie than Madrid from cushioning their lead. The hosts were playing for their lives while the visitors were playing for another domestic trophy when an elusive European one was on their minds.
Eventually, at the 85th minute, and after countless back-and-forth attacks and rough tackles, a cross by Javier Baraja, following a corner clearance, found substitute Humberto Osorio leaning in for a header amid the gaggle of players in the middle of the box. The headed ball ricocheted off a Madrid player on its way past Iker Casillas' outstretched hands. Replays showed that Casillas' hand would have met the ball in mid air had it kept its original trajectory, but the hand missed it by inches on its final one.
Now the score was tied, but Ancelotti, who had gambled on holding on to the one goal advantage, had substituted defender Marcelo for striker Karim Benzema, and defensive midfielder Asier Illaramendi for offensive midfielder Isco, was out of offensive options. The four minutes of stoppage time, which seemed to give the players more fighting than playing time, did nothing to change the bottom line.
Toward the end of the game's broadcast Madrid spokespersons were saying Ronaldo's injury was a muscle strain as opposed to a more serious tear. Medical tests were still to be conducted, but the preliminary prospects looked positive.