In a matter of five days Real Madrid's season came to a grinding halt. The writing had been on the wall throughout 2015 but Madrid fans hardly dared to think they would miss out on trophies all together.
Early on the season looked so promising for Madridistas; they destroyed Barcelona in the first Clasico of the season, they were 22 games unbeaten and they had a four point lead in La Liga.
But immediately following a 2-1 loss to Valencia in the second week of January everything started to slip. Not just the form of the team but also the form of its biggest stars.
Florentino Perez is hardly known for his patience so changes are certainly abound during the summer, but just what should Real Madrid fans expect?
Most of the speculation in Madrid has revolved around the Welshman. After excellent performances throughout the 2013/14 season much was expected for his second season in the Spanish capital.
However those expectations were never quite met. Despite still having decent numbers, (13 goals and nine assists in the league) his performances in the most important matches haven't been good enough.
Because of that Bale has taken the brunt of the blame for the team's bad form this season. Along with club legend Iker Casillas, Bale had faced taunts and whistles from his own fans throughout the current campaign.
So the big question is; will he leave? Rumors have swirled all season that Manchester United were coming for Bale, news of a potential David de Gea plus money swap surfaced early this season. Two seasons after paying a world record fee it is unlikely that Perez would be able to recoup that money, but at this point perhaps selling him would benefit the team.
Although I believe Bale still has the capability to be a world class player the benefit of selling him is quite clear. Bale is just far too similar to club star Cristiano Ronaldo. Neither player works particularly hard defensively. And considering Madrid's lack of defensive options in midfield this has become a real issue.
It is fine to have one player in a free role but having two on each wing leaves Real far too exposed. Especially considering how high Marcelo and Daniel Carvajal push up the pitch.
Perhaps selling Bale and signing a Paul Pogba or a Marco Verratti would add more stability to the team.
Prediction: Gareth Bale for 80m to Manchester United
Since the 4-0 trashing against local rivals Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon, Ancelotti has been under constant scrutiny. So much so that President Florentino Perez had to address the media before the second Clasico in order to restore faith in Ancelotti's position.
The Italian coach is undoubtedly one of the best managers in the world but has proven to be tactically naive and far too diplomatic. Tactical flexibility is a sought after trait among top managers and Ancelotti as hardly shown that this season.
He has been far to enamored with a strange 4-4-2 and a far too attacking variation of the 4-3-3. These formations have had too many key players in strange positions. For example, Toni Kroos' form suffered when forced to play a deeper role and Bale struggled on the wing when he is much better behind the striker (as evident when playing for Wales or Spurs).
To make matters worse Ancelotti has religiously stuck with the so-called BBC refusing to drop them or alter their positions even when it was clear they were not in sync. It was never going to be easy to repeat in the Champions League but failure on all fronts is hardly forgivable.
Prediction: Personally I would like to see Ancelotti stay but expect him to be gone next season. Jurgen Klopp or Julen Lopetegui to come in
In goal it's time for Iker Casillas to step aside. He should be retained as a backup to provide leadership and mentoring for David de Gea if he comes in. Rumours have also surfaced about a possible move for German keeper Bernd Leno.
At right-back Dani Carvajal has proven to be capable. He is incredibly hard working and has a good touch going forward. Summer signing Danilo is much better cover than Alvaro Arbeloa. Expect a rotation between Danilo and Carvajal.
In central defence Pepe, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane were good in patches this season. But each had a downturn in form. All three will return, Ramos will be the consistent starter with rotation between Varane and Pepe.
On the opposite flank Marcelo has been fantastic for two seasons now. He has proven a valuable attacking threat, however he leaves something to be desired defensively. Perhaps dipping into the transfer market for some defensive cover instead of Fabio Coentrao would be useful.
In defensive midfield it's time for Real Madrid to buy big; Marco Verratti would be perfect to rotate with the injury prone but extremely skilled Luka Modric, whilst buying Paul Pogba at any price would be very interesting.
Kroos and James Rodriguez could player further forward in more natural positions. Isco can rotate in.
In attack Cristiano Ronaldo is still one of the best in the world and the best player in the team. Aside from a huge offer, Ronaldo will be back and retain his place in the team. Karim Benzema will likely have the other spot upfront. Jese will leave, probably on loan. Knowing Perez he may go for Marco Reus too, however he may not be necessary.
On the bench Sami Khedira will be gone.Asier Illarramendi and Lucas Silva will stay as a rotation options. Jese out on loan. Coentrao could be gone, Nacho will stay as a backup. Navas will be backup again, possibly Casillas too. Martin Odegaard may occasionally get the call-up.
IDEAL STARTING XI next season
De Gea, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Modric/Verratti, Pogba, Kroos, James, Ronaldo, Benzema
Real Madrid fans: Let me know your opinions below, and yes I use a lot of Ray Hudson lines....
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://gms.to/writeforgms
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms