Former Real Madrid manager Fabio Capello believes the club no longer stir fear in opposing defences now that Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer with them.
The Spanish giants have notably struggled to reach their usual high standards this season following Ronaldo’s €112m transfer to Italian champions Juventus last summer.
Without the Portuguese superstar leading the charge, Real have seen the defence of their Champions League crown crumble in light of a humiliating last-16 exit at the hands of Dutch side Ajax.
After a terrible domestic campaign, Los Blancos head into their final seven games of the season with nothing but a runners-up spot in La Liga left to play for.
Two managers in Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari have been fired in the past six months, with Zinedine Zidane returning last month in a desperate bid to overturn things at the Spanish capital.
But, due to a 13-point gap to league leaders Barcelona, even the three-time Champions League winning coach won’t be able to spare Real’s blushes with so little games remaining.
And Capello believes a large part of his old club’s struggles have come to defences no longer fearing Real in the same way they used to when Ronaldo was scoring almost non-stop in his nine-year spell.
“I always say, that Real Madrid and Barcelona start matches winning 1-0 and if you want to beat them you have to score at least two goals,” said Capello, according to Marca.
“This year Madrid have lacked the 1-0, and have started at 0-0 like the others and that’s why they have faced so many difficulties.
“Now we see what is happening at Juventus with Cristiano [Ronaldo] as, with the Portuguese, the opposition defenders were very scared before and now they are not.”
In fact, the club’s goal tally of 55 goals in 31 La Liga games pales in comparison to last season’s haul of 77 goals in the same amount of matches.
Capello, who won two La Liga titles in charge of Real across two separate spells, also reckons Zidane will have more power in his second spell in charge.
“[Zidane’s return] has surprised me a lot to say the truth,” continued the Italian.
“I think that now he has more power than before because when he joined the club for the first time it was Florentino Perez who put him on the job and now it was [Perez] who asked him to go back.
“Zidane is the one who knows about the transfers, as there are three good players they can sign and they know who those players are.”
Real suffered another blow on Friday, when it was confirmed that captain Sergio Ramos suffered a calf injury and could be out for up to three weeks.
Zidane’s side will be back in action on Monday night in a trip to local rivals CD Leganes in La Liga.