By most standards, fourth-place in a major European league might be seen as a major victory for some clubs.
But then again, Real Madrid isn’t just another club.
Zinedine Zidane and his side failed to pick up three points on Saturday against relegation-tested Levante, however, the Madridistas’ latest result isn’t so surprising given their up-and-down form in 2017/18.
Instead, it is more how the club got to this point that is so intriguing (or disturbing if you’re a supporter of the side).
18 points currently separates Real from league leaders and bitter rivals Barcelona with only 17 matches remaining in the La Liga season. While it’s not an insurmountable deficit (mathematically, at least), Zidane and his side will likely have to turn their attention elsewhere if they plan on winning anything significant this campaign.
So, let’s take a look at how this Madrid team stacks up with those of the past.
Since the 1976/77 season, Los Blancos have never finished outside of the top five in La Liga, and while fifth is likely as far as Real will fall this season, the club has made a living of boasting success both inside and outside domestic play.
Meanwhile, in each of the last 13 seasons, Real has only finished outside the top two in Spain’s first division on one occasion (2013/14). However, the club went on to win the UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey titles during the campaign, which were surely seen as major achievements for the club.
This season is quite different though, particularly with Real boasting an older roster, and in particular, one that seems to be growing more and more discontented with each other.
Rumors have been dropped ablaze over recent weeks, with Cristiano Ronaldo at the forefront of a potential move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.
While nothing substantial has come forth to this point, clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain remain linked with the Portuguese superstar, and a move away from the club would undoubtedly spell a new era in the Spanish capital.
Real has already crashed out of the Copa del Rey, with a stunningly poor effort against Leganes — who sits 12th place in La Liga — and is simply hanging on to its hopes of recapturing its form in the UCL when play resumes against a star-studded PSG side.
Zidane and his side have managed to win three of the last four UCL competitions, but with a stacked field remaining this year, including PSG, Barcelona and Manchester City, Real’s path to another title in the competition will be anything but simple.
It’s impossible to right off a side that boasts the talent that Real has, but this season is looking more like an anomaly in this club’s rich history — one that will almost certainly bring about sweeping changes at season’s end — or perhaps sooner.Follow @MattReedFutbol