Real Madrid’s players have been notably quiet on social media following the dismissal of Julen Lopetegui as the club’s first-team coach.
The Spanish tactician, who only joined Los Blancos in the summer, was given his marching orders by Florentino Perez on Monday - 24 hours after the team’s humiliating 5-1 defeat against fierce rivals Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
Mariano Diaz became the first Madrid players to post on social media about Lopetegui, thanking the 52-year-old for bringing him back to the Bernabeu and wishing him all the best for the future.
When Zinedine Zidane left the club at the end of last season, however, almost every Madrid player had thanked the French coach and wished him well within 24 hours of his departure.
In fact, the only player who stayed quite was Gareth Bale, who was still angry with Zidane for leaving him out of the starting line-up for the Champions League final against Liverpool.
However, late on Tuesday afternoon, Toni Kroos posted a tweet about Lopetegui - and it’s pretty much perfect.
The German midfielder admitted on his tweet that Lopetegui’s dismissal is “the biggest defeat” for the players. In other words, the players deserve to take responsibility for his sacking.
“The biggest defeat for players is when the coach has to go,” Kroos tweeted. “Especially in this case because he is a great coach and great person. Thanks Julen!”
Well said, Toni, although not everyone will agree with you that Lopetegui is a 'great coach' after what they've witnessed in recent weeks.
It’s too easy to pin the blame solely on Lopetegui’s shoulders for Madrid’s struggles this season.
Ultimately the manager is always the one held accountable for a team’s failures; the players, as a group, inevitably escape heavy criticism.
But it can’t be ignored that too many of Madrid’s highly-paid star names have flattered to deceive this season.
The players needed to step up following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure but, so far, they’ve been found wanting.
Santiago Solari is the man who’s been placed in temporary charge of Los Blancos following Lopetegui’s exit.
He begins his tenure against Melilla in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday evening, followed by Saturday’s must-win La Liga clash against Real Valladolid.
Madrid are currently ninth in La Liga, seven points behind league-leaders Barça.