Xabi Alonso has backed his ex-teammates Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema to return to the form at Real Madrid, amid speculation over their futures in the Spanish capital.
Real Madrid had to settle for a draw with Valencia in their last league outing while both Bale and Benzema came in for criticism for missing key opportunities.
Their performances created further speculation that they could even be about to leave the club, but Alonso (speaking to Marca) defended his former teammates.
"They are top players and nobody can doubt what they have done before," the two-time Champions League winner said.
"The season is very long. We have just played two games. I have no doubts about Karim, or Gareth, or any other player as they will all be important."
Following back-to-back Champions League trophy wins, Real Madrid remain the team to beat in Europe and while questions have been raised about Bale and Benzema, Marco Asensio has been a revelation.
"Sergio [Ramos] and the others will help him [Asensio] a lot," Alonso said. "Bit by bit he will get more prominence, but without burning him out. This is a moment for him to grow, to continue his development. He is taking giant steps, and each day is a more important member of the squad."
"Madrid are now the reference point in Europe and the world, without doubt. If we look at how they have been playing these four years, and the health of the team, it looks like it can last some years yet. You never know how far they can go, but the feelings they transmit are stupendous.
"Zidane's great strength is he has known how to manage everything, how to have them all motivated. They even won La Liga, where they had not done well recently. They are going in a very good direction."