It was always going to be hard for Real Madrid to maintain the incredible level of success they set last season by winning both La Liga and the Champions League.
The 2017-18 campaign began with a dominant Spanish Super Cup victory over Barcelona, but they now find themselves eight points behind their rivals in the league table.
After the last transfer window, Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo, at 31 and 32 respectively, are arguably the two most senior players in Zinedine Zidane's squad.
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One is Real's captain, while the other is their talisman and all-time greatest goalscorer, but tensions between the two have risen in recent weeks.
Ramos has called Ronaldo out over some recent comments, and now Marca have provided an explanation as to why the pair's relationship is so strained at the moment.
What's happened so far?
Following Madrid's 3-1 loss to Tottenham at Wembley, Ronaldo said that allowing experienced players like Pepe, James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata to leave in the summer was a mistake.
Zidane decided to replace those players by signing Theo Hernandez, Dani Ceballos, and promoting a number of youth players - none of whom are over the age of 23.
Why Ramos and Cristiano aren't getting along
Marca have cited a shift in the make-up of the Los Blancos dressing room as a key reason why Ramos and Cristiano may not be getting along at the moment.
The Spanish news outlet say that "over the summer, a notable shift has taken place in the Real dressing room" due to the club's transfer dealings.
Ronaldo's compatriots Pepe and Fabio Coentrao, along with James, who all left the Bernabeu, were all good personal friends of the four-time Ballon d'Or winner.
The next part is very interesting, as Marca claim that there's a group of Madrid players who wouldn't dare to disrespect Ramos, however the same cannot be said for Ronaldo.
Ramos reportedly has "more credence with the increasingly youthful, native squad that Zinedine Zidane now has at his disposal".
Players such as Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Ceballos, Isco and Marco Asensio wouldn't dare to say a word against the 31-year-old Spaniard - "an honour not bestowed upon Ronaldo".
The report goes on to say that Ronaldo didn't like Ramos' open courtship of Neymar to join Real, seeing as the Brazilian's arrival would provide direct competition to his starting place.
Ramos then shrugged his shoulders when asked about Cristiano's future after Russia 3-3 Spain, saying: "Cristiano is leaving? Ask him, I don't know about these things."
It remains to be seen whether the duo have genuinely fallen out beyond repair, or the Spanish media are just hyping things up too much.
Next up for Ramos and Cristiano is the small matter of the Madrid derby as Zidane's men travel to the Wanda Metropolitano to battle Diego Simeone's Atletico.
What do YOU make of the apparent strained friendship between Ramos and Cristiano at Real? Leave YOUR opinion in the comments box below!
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