Sergio Ramos and Marcelo, Real Madrid’s captain and vice-captain, turned up to Valdebebas in the same car on Monday morning and probably assumed Julen Lopetegui’s desk would already be clear following Sunday’s Clasico defeat at the Camp Nou.
Madrid were beaten 5-1 by Barcelona, their worst defeat the Camp Nou since the infamous 5-0 defeat back in 2010.
However, Lopetegui surprisingly took Monday’s training session, even though his days at the Bernabeu are numbered. Italian coach Antonio Conte is expected to be named as Madrid’s new head coach, potentially as early as this week.
The manner of Madrid’s latest defeat has made Lopetegui’s position untenable. Marcelo pulled a goal back for Madrid early in the second half, making it 2-1, but three goals in the final 15 minutes sealed a comprehensive victory for Barça.
None of Madrid’s players covered themselves in glory during the match. Even Ramos, who relishes the big occasions, was uncharacteristically poor.
The Spanish defender told reporters it was time for the players to be self-critical after such a humiliating result.
"It's not the time to point the finger at anyone,” he was quoted as saying by Marca. “We have to be self-critical and sometimes it's the players' fault."
Ramos's Instagram activity will cause a stir
However, Ramos’s Instagram activity suggests he may have been thinking about several of his teammates while making those comments.
One Madrid fan pointed out that Ramos liked the following post on Instagram, which rants about the performances of Thibaut Courtois, Nacho and Raphael Varane.
“Ok, enough is enough,” the post from @sergio_ramos_idol begins. “What was this, what?????? Do you remember what shirt you wear??? Do you????
“Why is Courtois our goalkeeper? I mean does he even know he is goalkeeper or what??? Useless…..”
Ouch. That’s not going to do much for Courtois’s confidence if he finds out his captain has been liking posts like this.
“Awful defence, just horrible omg,” the rant continued. “Nacho's worst ever performance, Varane just didn't know what to do after becoming world champion....
“Marcelo and Ramos the only ones that did something although there were defensive mistakes from them too..... midfield?? Didn't exist.... Attack??? Not found...... coach??? Going to be sacked....
“This whole situation is because the players play without motivation, without desire to win.... they just run on the pitch for I don't know what..... mehhh, I don't want to continue, or this is going to become a very big statement with all problems of this team.”
We’ve double-checked the post and yep, Ramos has indeed liked it.
Whether he did it on purpose or accidentally is currently unclear, but the fact he’s liked it will raise eyebrows nevertheless.
He may well have some explaining to do when his teammates find out.
Madrid currently find themselves ninth in the table following their latest defeat, seven points behind league-leaders Barça.
They take on Melilla in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night - a golden opportunity to get back to winning ways - before hosting Real Valladolid in La Liga on Saturday.