Real Madrid is 19 points behind unbeaten leaders Barcelona, fourth in the table and without a hope of defending their league title
Cristiano Ronaldo won his fifth Ballon d'Or in December 2017 to move level with Lionel Messi, but the pair's performances this season could not be further removed.Barcelona's talisman has lost some of his pace but is as deadly as ever, leading the scoring charts in Spain with 17 league strikes. Ronaldo, meanwhile, has scored just four goals in the division.The team is built around Ronaldo and, despite a bright spell in the run-up to the Clasico which Madrid lost 3-0, at 32-years-old his best days may well be behind him.
Coach Zidane has a commanding presence and, given his stellar career as a player, was instantly afforded a lot of respect.That helped him lead Real Madrid to consecutive Champions League titles and their first league trophy since 2012.However, during that period, he was praised for his man management, rather than his technical and tactical skills.Madrid's football depended a lot on the quality of players they had, rather than a philosophy of play. Now the players are not performing, that is a problem.
Real Madrid is playing without their captain Sergio Ramos, as he is out due to an injury. He has been diagnosed with a muscular tear in the left soleus muscle.His absence is definitely felt.
Real Madrid were widely praised for their close season transfer business, bringing in young, promising players Theo Hernandez and Dani Ceballos.However, while they may become crucial in the future, the first team itself was not improved.Zinedine Zidane's best side is the same eleven players he had at his disposal last season, whereas Madrid's rivals have refreshed their sides.Barcelona added Ousmane Dembele and now Philippe Coutinho, while Atletico Madrid brought in Diego Costa and Vitolo.Source: Reuters and AFP