Replacing Zinedine Zidane, the first manager ever to win three consecutive Champions League titles, was always going to be a tough challenge for Real Madrid.
However, wasting no time Real got their man early as they appointed Julen Lopetegui in June. Could he pick up where his predecessor left off?
It’s a bit too early to say ‘no’, but the jury is very much out after a terrible run of form which has left Los Blancos off the pace in La Liga and precariously poised in their Champions League group.
Many people believe that Lopetegui’s days are already numbered, such are the high standards to which a Real Madrid manager is held.
And, while 12 games may be insufficient to judge him, these six statistics do not make happy reading for Lopetegui.
6. First Away Defeat to Alaves Since 1931
Real Madrid had won their last four matches against Alaves by a 13-2 aggregate margin, hadn’t lost to Los Babazorros since 2000, and hadn’t lost a league game at the Mendizorrotza since 1931.
But with Alaves in good form and Real Madrid in dire straits, 87 years of hurt was laid to rest earlier this month as Manu Garcia headed in a 95th minute winning goal for the Basque side.
The fear factor is gone – now every team in La Liga believes they have a chance of beating Real.
5. Conceding Four in One Match for the First Time Since 2015
Lopetegui could have started his Real Madrid career in the best possible fashion as they faced city rivals Atletico in the UEFA Super Cup.
Instead, it turned into a nightmare as a Diego Costa double took the match to extra time, where Saul and Koke gave Los Rojiblancos the win and the trophy.
By conceding four goals, Real Madrid managed in one match under Lopetegui what they had never done in 149 games under Zinedine Zidane. You have to go back to November 2015, and a 4-0 defeat to Barcelona under Rafa Benitez, for the last time Real conceded four in one match.
4. Most Shots Without Scoring in a Champions League Match
If ever a statistic showed how Real Madrid are missing Cristiano Ronaldo, this is it.
Los Blancos had 26 shots against CSKA Moscow but drew a blank – their most shots without scoring in the Champions League since Opta statistics began in 2003/04. Surely Ronaldo would have made at least one of them count.
Nikola Vlasic’s goal after just 65 seconds, which gave CSKA the famous victory, was also the fastest goal Real Madrid had conceded in a Champions League match since Roy Makaay gave Bayern Munich the lead within ten seconds at the Allianz Arena in 2007.
3. Longest Winless Run Since 2009
Real Madrid’s current run of five matches without a victory is their longest since the end of the 2008/09 season, when a 6-2 defeat to Barcelona was the catalyst for a five-game losing streak.
They should be able to arrest this unwanted record against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday evening, but if they cannot, it will become their worst winless run since a nine-game barren streak in 1991.
2. Longest Goalless Run EVER
First it was three matches without a goal for the first time since 2009, then four without a goal for the first time since 1985. Then, by failing to score in the first 55 minutes against Levante, Real set a new all-time club record for the longest run without scoring.
Marcelo finally stopped the rotten run at 482 minutes with his consolation strike, but for a club that demands exciting, attacking football, a record of this nature is unacceptable. It’s almost as if selling one of the most prolific players of all time without a replacement was a bad idea.
1. Worst Ever Start to a La Liga Season
With 14 points from their first nine games of the season, this is officially Real Madrid’s worst ever start to a La Liga campaign. This record leaves them seventh in La Liga, behind the likes of Espanyol, Alaves and Real Valladolid.
However, the inconsistency of Real’s rivals means that they are still only four points behind leaders Barcelona. It’s not too late to turn this season around, but it might require a change in the dugout to make that happen.