Real Madrid have endured an injury run of nightmare proportions and have shown quite clearly that, no matter how good the team, when you have injuries to your main protagonists, results will reflect that.
Prior to Christmas, all seemed rosy in the Madrid garden. 22 wins on the spin, goals galore, planet football fawning all over the "BBC" of Bale, Benzema and Cristiano.
Real were playing some sparkling stuff, taking all before them and deservedly being spoken about as potentially one of the best club sides of all time.
And then it all began to unravel.
Luka Modric's injury in November was a major inconvenience but with Isco a ready-made replacement, there wasn't too much concern at the Santiago Bernabeu.
When Barcelona drew 0-0 at Getafe, various media outlets were preparing to hand the trophy to Real at that point, there really wasn't any way that most people could see Madrid not coasting to victory in just about every game they played.
However, when James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos joined Modric on the sidelines, then the alarm bells began to ring.
It's fair to suggest that sans some of their big names, Real began to struggle in some games. A hitherto unseen reticence began to creep in to their attacking play and they were nowhere near the side of just a couple of months previously.
Losing to Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey wasn't entirely unexpected, but being destroyed by them in La Liga was a real wake up call. Now, as we wind down to the business end of the season, injuries are beginning to bite Real hard again.
Modric is out for the season it would appear and Gareth Bale's hamstring will keep him on the sidelines for a minimum of two to three weeks. Karim Benzema is also struggling and his replacement Chicharito appeared to injure himself whilst scoring the winner in the Champions League quarter final against Atleti.
They remain alive in the UCL and also in La Liga but they cannot afford to have any more of their stars falling by the wayside.
And who is to blame? Carlo Ancelotti for not rotating during the early part of the season? The club doctors for not insisting that certain players training regimes are more tailored, to avoid further recurrence of little niggles?
In fact, apportioning any blame at all will do nothing for the mental energy needed by the first XI to guide them through these next important few weeks. If Real manage to become the first side in the modern era to retain the Champions League, then no one will remember how they got there.
Lose any more players though, and that will just be a pipe dream...
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