It's safe to say that news of Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid for Juventus was met by the relief of many in the Spanish top flight - apart of Madrid themselves, of course.
To suggest that Los Blancos have struggled in the months that followed Ronaldo's departure would be a massive understatement. Although, this was to be expected considering he was their all-time leading goalscorer.
Madrid currently sit third in La Liga, 12 points behind Barcelona in first.
The return of Zinedine Zidane as head coach has brought hope back to the side, despite it meaning they've now had three separate managers throughout the 2018/19 season.
Under Zidane's guise, Madrid managed an unprecedented three back-to-back Champions League titles. But the tipping point of their season came when they were denied a fourth by an exciting Ajax side, who knocked them out of the competition after two legs - a result that ultimately cost former boss Santiago Solari his job.
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Throughout Madrid's struggles, long-term league rivals Barcelona have thrived. But one player from the Catalan side says the situation could be much different had Cristiano stayed in Spain.
Portugal and Barcelona right-back Nelson Semedo has insisted his team's season would have been much more difficult if Ronaldo was still at Madrid.
Per goal.com, he told Portuguese channel SIC: "Real Madrid have noticed his absence a lot.
"I cannot say that it was bad for us that Cristiano left. With him it would have been a more difficult league for us, more competitive.
"He [Ronaldo] is a player that requires a lot of attention and care. Without Lionel Messi we would play well, but not the same."
Semedo is one of the few players who has been fortunate enough to play alongside Messi and Ronaldo simultaneously.
Both Semedo and Ronaldo were named the latest Portugal squad, though this means it will be the first time Ronaldo has represented his country since the 2018 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi remains the highest goalscorer in La Liga, with 26 goals compared to Ronaldo's 24 in the Serie A.
But the return of a face familiar with success at Real Madrid in Zidane could mean they'll be back to their winning ways soon enough. Especially if the rumoured £300m squad rebuild in the summer comes to fruition.News Now - Sport News