Real Madrid's problems have been brutally laid bare over the past week. Problems that began long before Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane left the Spanish capital.
Time is a luxury rarely afforded to Real Madrid by its demanding fans, but time is what the club desperately needs to navigate through this transitionary period and build a foundation for long-term success.
The arrival of teenage sensation Vinicius was a step in the right direction, but when results turned so did the fans, prompting the club to abandon any long-term solution for immediate damage control. Enter caretaker manager Santiago Solari.
Solari steadied the ship and earned himself a permanent deal, but he hasn’t done enough to show he’s the man to lead a long-term post Ronaldo rebuild.
The last six days have silenced any remaining support for Solari. Two El Clasico defeats at the Bernabeu and humiliation to Ajax at the same venue in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 have capped off one of the worst weeks in the club’s 116-year history.
The 13-time UEFA Champions League-winner’s challenge is greater than just replacing Cristiano Ronaldo. The rest of the core group which achieved the UEFA Champions League three-peat including the likes of Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema are all entering the twilight of their careers and the club needs to have a succession plan in place.
Florentino Perez’s summer ‘galactaco’ signing has to be a manager, one who can lead a long-term project for the club, and the fans have to afford him the time he needs to do it.
Take Liverpool, which brought in Jurgen Klopp for that very thing and after struggling in his first season, the club and fans gave him time and the patience paid off with the Reds challenging to win their first Premier League title in 29 years.
Three Champions League wins in a row have papered over some deep cracks appearing in the Bernabeu concrete. Fissures that have been brutally laid bare in just under a week.
It will take far more than another manager change or the arrival of a big signing or two to fix the rot. Question is, is Florentino Perez and a proud set of supporters willing to embark on a rebuild from the ground up?