Real Madrid may be the reigning Champions League holders but they are not playing like European kings at the moment.
There is so much tension at the club presently that Cristiano Ronaldo announced that he will not speak to the media again until the end of the season.
Captain Iker Casillas – the goalkeeper under fire for his own form – has to explain Real Madrid’s recent slump.
Ronaldo was frustrated by Real’s 4-3 defeat to Schalke in the Champions League at the Bernabeu on Tuesday.
Although Real progressed into the quarterfinals of the competition by a 5-4 aggregate, they were so unconvincing that the team’s low morale was evident.
TV cameras showed Ronaldo shaking his head and mouthing “disgrace” to Karim Benzema just before the end of the game.
Ronaldo’s two first-half headers helped keep Real’s hopes of a record-extending 11th European Cup title alive and took his tally in all European competition to a record 78 goals.
That surpassed Lionel Messi (76) and the former Real striker Raul (77).
However, Real feels there is little to be cheerful about following their 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao at the weekend, which lost them top spot in La Liga.
The loss to Schalke was their first home defeat in the Champions League in 22 matches, which sparked the players being whistled off the pitch by disgruntled home fans, many waving white handkerchiefs in the traditional sign of disapproval.
Casillas admitted that they hadn’t played to the standard of recent months and he understood the fans’ frustration.
Real have little time to correct things as they travel to Barcelona on March 22.
Real host Levante on Sunday, and could be four points behind their bitter rivals, who play at Eibar on Saturday.
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti has come under fire for his side’s poor recent form and there is speculation he could go – even before the end of the season. The Italian apologized for his team’s performance against Schalke, admitting they deserve all the criticism they are getting.
Gareth Bale’s erratic form too is displeasing fans and local media alike too, fuelling more speculation that he will return to the English Premier League this summer with Manchester United.