Madrid flies out to Morocco on Sunday looking to add a world championship to the Champions League crown claimed last May in Lisbon. And in their last Liga match of 2014, Carlo Ancelotti's men were forced to dig deep.
In the end, two late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo made it look a lot easier than it was, but Almeria missed a penalty (Iker Casillas' first spot kick save in La Liga since 2011) at 2-1. The game was wide open until the Portuguese slotted home the third following a fine move involving both Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
With Almeria squeezing spaces in the midfield and pressing persistently, Madrid missed the quality, touch and passing of injured pair James Rodriguez and Luka Modric.
Ancelotti finally withdrew Benzema five minutes before the end, after Madrid's third goal, but the Italian was unable to rest any more of his players prior to that because the result was still in doubt.
"At halftime we spoke about how we weren't at our level," Casillas said after the match. "But we reacted well after the penalty."
And Ancelotti added: "We controlled the game. Almeria pressured, but we deserved the win and quality decided it in the end. We are in a good moment."
The run started with a 5-1 success versus Basel in the Champions League on Sept. 16 and has continued with wins against Deportivo La Coruna, Villarreal, Elche, Ludogorets (twice), Athletic Bilbao, Levante, Liverpool (twice), Barcelona, Cornella (twice), Granada, Rayo Vallecano, Eibar, Basel again, Malaga, Celta Vigo and now Almeria.
And Friday's match was perhaps one of the toughest tests of that entire streak, giving Madrid food for thought as it prepares to add another trophy to its illustrious collection.
"We are only thinking about winning it," Ancelotti said. "Just like any other competition. But the atmosphere and the moment are good. We will go there full of confidence. I think the Club World Cup comes at a good time for us."
It certainly does come at a good time and Madrid's fine form is surely ominous news for the likes of Cruz Azul and San Lorenzo. Because, however it plays, Real is simply unstoppable at the moment.