If I haven't already mentioned that I'm not a fan of international breaks, I'm not a fan of international breaks. World Cups and other big tournaments yes, but a one-week break from the regular excitement of the domestic season? No thanks. Not even qualifiers float my boat; rarely do you get an exciting international match between two big teams unless you're at one of the big tournaments. And for friendly matches? That's even worse...
...which is why the weekend can't come soon enough for a return to La Liga action - Jornada 13. It's a big one too, a trip to the Mestalla for Los Blancos and a tough test against third-placed Valancia. Nothing like getting back to the rough and tumble of domestic football than a crucial match against an in-form side. An ease back into La Liga for Madrid's international stars it won't be.
Mourinho would, I'm sure, have preferred a more comfortable way to get back to the week-to-week of La Liga. Even Valencia at the Bernabeu wouldn't have been too bad. As it is, players will be returning bit by bit to the Spanish capital to return to training and rush their preparation for the trip to face Unai Emery's men. Of course, this isn't a new issue for clubs, especially big clubs that Mourinho's managed before - Inter, Chelsea and Porto who have a whole host of international players.
What it does do for Madrid is give them a real litmus test for the season ahead. They've had a 'test' in Malaga, one they passed with flying colours, and they've suffered a defeat at Levante, although with all due respect to Levante (and respect there is aplenty thanks to their superb start) that fixture wouldn't have been penned in as a 'test' on the same scale as this weekend's clash at the Mestalla. If anyone, Valencia provide Madrid with their first 'proper' test of the campaign. Despite Levante's encouraging start, the league table is now taking a familiar shape, with Los Blancos and Barca leading the way and Valencia not far behind.
If Madrid win against Los Che in their own back yard, they'll send out a huge message to Catalonia, if they hadn't already. Los Merengues will still be favourites for the contest, and rightly so, but Valencia will be no pushovers on their own patch and will be keen to continue their good run of form against the league leaders in front of their own fans.
They will, too, be keen to avenge last season's 6-3 thumping at home against Madrid, something former Madrid youth product Roberto Soldado has fresh in his memory judging by comments in Marca this week. It was a game that no doubt would have dented Valencia's pride and they'll be keen to avoid a repeat and keep it tight this time around. That means Los Blancos may have to be patient to break through the Valencia defence, although at a ratio of over three goals per game already in La Liga this season they'll be confident of their abilities.
It's a big test for Madrid, but it's one they should come out of with full marks, if not the emphatic scoreline they so enjoyed last season. It's certainly a mouthwatering clash in the making. It kicks-off a bit of a tough run of matches for Madrid, with games against Atletico, Sporting, Barcelona and Sevilla coming around before the Christmas break - even more reason to start the mini run of matches with a big win.
Meanwhile, it'd be good to see Guti back in Madrid - at Getafe, that is. The former Real man was released by Turkish club Besiktas on Tuesday and he's seemingly keen on a return to La Liga, with talks reported to be on-going with Getafe this week. He could be back playing in Spain as soon as next week. He may be 35 but he should do a decent job for them if he signs. He wasn't getting much of a look-in in Turkey and he'll be more familiar with the pace and the technicalities of the Spanish game.