Real Madrid: The week that wasn't meant to be
This was a week that couldn't have gone any worse. Three matches, three defeats. Los Blancos' season ended in a week.
Football is one strange game. Nobody can gulp down the fact, that for the first time in nine years, Real Madrid aren't in the last four of the prestigious tournament, forget the last eight. Real's dominance ended at the hands of Ajax, who are looking forward to rejuvenating the 1994-95 Champions League glory days, when they lifted the cup.
The Santiago Bernabeu last witnessed a downfall like this way back in May 2004, when Real Madrid had a similar run with four consecutive defeats. But this is not what the fans expected when the season started. Madrid is a team that is habituated to winning. This is a team which knows when to peak at the most vital crux of the season, however bad the start of the season is!
So Real's La Liga hopes are definitely on the low, they are out of the Copa del Rey and now they have crashed out of the Champions League as well!
Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona, Copa del Rey Semi-final Leg 2, February 27
Real Madrid kind of looked on track after a straightforward 1-1 draw in the first leg. A neat, goalless first-half followed, after which Real just collapsed at the hands of their Catalan rivals. Luis Suarez led the drubbing and punished Madrid's fragile defence with a brace. That and an own goal by Raphael Varane were enough to send Los Blancos packing and thrust Barcelona into a sixth straight Copa del Rey final.
Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona, La Liga, March 2
Another day, another El Clasico defeat!
This was the perfect chance for some revenge, and reduce the deficit at the top for Santiago Solari's side. But it was the same story all over again with woeful defending, lack of creativity in the final third and missed chances. An Ivan Rakitic strike was the difference at the end of 90 minutes. Real now trail leaders Barcelona by 12 points which pretty much sums up their La Liga campaign.
Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax, UEFA Champions League, March 5
A 2-1 lead from the first-leg might be the only good thing you'll hear about this game!
Eredivisie champions Ajax ripped apart Santiago Solari's "boys", right from the beginning of the match, with two first-half goals. By the stroke of an hour, Ajax were already 3-0 up. One solitary Marco Asensio goal later, Ajax scored again. And rubbing salt into their wounds was Nacho Fernandez's late red card. The three-time defending champions eventually saw their way out of the competition so early.
It was a torrid week for the players, for the Bernabeu faithful and also Santiago Solari, whose job is surely hanging by a thread!
What's next for Real Madrid?
With literally no trophies left to play for, Real face a difficult trip to Valladolid on Monday. Santiago Solari insisted that he has no intention of leaving the club. He took to the media to reflect on his team's performance and was quoted saying :
"It's really painful, we're sorry for our fans, who were amazing in the way they supported the team in what was a very tough time."
The Spanish media in the meantime has labelled the loss as "end of an era" and "death of the club".