The Madrid Derby between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid is always one of the most highly-anticipated matches of the Spanish football season next only to El Clasico. However, on Sunday, the match will have a different vibe with Los Blancos already having been declared La Liga champions for the 2021/22 season.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press on Saturday and made some revelations about the upcoming visit to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium. His biggest bombshell is the confirmation that Andriy Lunin will take the place of Thibaut Courtois between the sticks. The Belgian has been the regular starter all season, but Ancelotti has decided to give him some rest and let the Ukrainian show what he's made of in a big match.

Ancelotti also confirmed that even though the La Liga title has already been wrapped up, the Real Madrid squad is still taking every match seriously. He said that the remaining La Liga fixtures are important to help Los Blancos maintain their rhythm ahead of the UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool on May 28.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid has a lot more at stake on Sunday. While the La Liga title is already out of reach, they need the victory in order to stay within the top four Champions League spots for next season. Atletico are currently sitting in fourth place with 61 points, just three points ahead of Real Betis.

Diego Simeone needs to navigate some issues in his lineup, with Mario Hermoso suspended for this match. Other important players like Joao Felix and Thomas Lemar are sidelined through injury. leaving the coach with limited options.

Apart from the actual action on the pitch, a spotlight has also been cast on this match because of the debate about the "guard of honour." Ancelotti said that the practice is not common in Italy, and he does not feel the need to oblige Atletico. For Simeone, he feels that doing so will be be an insult to their own fans at the Wanda Metropolitano. The players feel the same way, and it appears as though the guard of honour won't be seen ahead of the match.

Diego Simeone
Atletico Madrid's Argentinian coach Diego Simeone AFP / MIGUEL RIOPA