By 90Min
November 03, 2017

Real Madrid slumped to a dispirited 3-1 defeat to Tottenham on Wednesday night, which further consolidated the concern surrounding the European champions this season. Undoubtedly the greatest team on the planet last season, Real Madrid clearly have talent in abundance. But despite this, the current season has begun in stark contrast to the mind-blowing performances that we have come to expect from Los Blancos.

Eight points behind Barcelona in La Liga in third place, it seems Zidane's side have lost the momentum that carried them all the way to a league and Champions League double last time out. 

Having slumped to two defeats and two losses in ten games so far domestically, there is a fundamental, underlying mental attitude that is ultimately the genesis of such lacklustre performances. 

Not only do Real Madrid lack a distinctive playing style, but they have become a team that can be easily broken down and out-manoeuvred by relatively sub-par opposition. On paper, the centre-back partnership of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane is arguably the best in world football, but as Madrid's performance last weekend against Girona showed, they can be easily stretched by middling-quality opposition. 

Casemiro, who was one of the brightest sparks in Real Madrid's dominance last season, has failed to provide sufficient cover in the midfield, meaning teams can tear through the centre of Real on the counter attack, much like their rivals Barcelona have been criticised for in recent seasons. This will cost them in the big games to come this season, which will be the downfall in crucial matches.

In addition to this, Cristiano Ronaldo has failed to reach the dizzying heights of his transcendent goalscoring exploits that have become so frequent over the past decade. Unbelievably, Ronaldo has the worst conversion rate of any player in Europe's top five leagues, with 2.5% from 40 attempts. 

With just one goal in the league, Real Madrid have come to the realisation that without their talisman, there is no one in the team who can take his place as a prolific goalscorer. 

Karim Benzema is not the centre forward that Real Madrid should be starting; there are players who could produce a much higher turnover than the Frenchman delivers each season, and although Zinedine Zidane recently defended the 29 year-old's performances, he is simply there to accommodate and support Ronaldo as Real Madrid's main man. Real's dependence on Ronaldo has never been more apparent than this season.

Interestingly, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague recently discussed the air of uncertainty surrounding the Bernabeu, and declared that this current Real Madrid team is not built for the future. 

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said, "They quite clearly need somebody that allows them to do their thing, and it's not by chance that getting rid of Rafa Benitez and getting Zidane in came from conversations with Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo asking what type of manager they should get in.

"I don't think this year it's going to happen for them, and despite Barcelona not being overly impressive, their football is predictable at times, I don't think Real can catch them, even though we are a long way away. This team under Zidane has been very well managed, but poorly coached.

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

"This is not a team made for the long run, this is a team made for the big nights. They are superstars, and don't always want to put in the hard work to win leagues."

This perfectly encapsulates everything that Real Madrid have struggled to do this season; performances both in the league and in Europe have looked below par, almost as if the hunger for success has been sucked out the squad after dominating world football for the past two seasons. 

Maybe the squad is fatiguing slightly under the pressure of constant success. There is no doubt that Zidane is still the right man for the job, it is just a question of whether he can energise his group of truly world class player into fulfilling their full potential.

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