Date: 18 January 2017 05:03
Los Blancos return to action against Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, having lost for the first time since April at Sevilla on Sunday
The run had to end at some stage. Real Madrid's 40-match unbeaten streak stretched all the way back to last season, but after defeat at Sevilla in La Liga on Sunday, it is time to start all over again for Zinedine Zidane's side.
Late Sevilla comeback ends Madrid run
Such is the scrutiny in Spain that, despite putting together the longest run without a loss in the history of Spanish football, the 2-1 reverse at the Sanchez Pijuan brought question marks over the roles of Karim Benzema, Keylor Navas and Cristiano Ronaldo - as well as Zidane himself.
That is perhaps the nature of Madrid and Zidane is well aware that he is under the spotlight at the Santiago Bernabeu, even though he has delivered three trophies already and lost only three matches during his year-long spell in charge.
"Why can't Benzema lose the ball in midfield?" Zidane said when asked about the France forward's mistake for the winning goal in added time on Sunday. And in response to a question regarding the criticism of Navas following the goalkeeper's error in that same strike, he replied: "We went 40 games unbeaten with Keylor in goal. He was there all along."
Ronaldo's performance was also criticised by some sectors of the Madrid media and, having sat out the previous rounds of the Copa del Rey, the Portuguese is in the squad for the quarter-final first leg at home to Celta Vigo on Wednesday night. Asked if he will play, Zidane said: "You will see tomorrow."
Zidane backs Navas and Benzema
The Frenchman was also asked about the fact that he made only one substitution on Sunday as his team tired, but claimed he would not do anything differently - despite the result. "I wouldn't change anything because when we do something it is because we believe in what we are doing," he said.
Nevertheless, he admitted: "I would like to have kept on winning. I don't think it's a positive thing [to lose a game]. We will have to work even harder."
That is the right attitude and Madrid will be pleased they have the chance to put the defeat behind them and move on as they face Celta on Wednesday, with a home match against Malaga to follow at the Santiago Bernabeu again on Saturday.
Ronaldo in Madrid squad for Celta clash
"Celta are a good team," Zidane said in Tuesday's pre-match press conference. "They are fighting in all the competitions and they play good football." They also put up a good fight at the Bernabeu earlier this season, losing 2-1 in La Liga after Toni Kroos' spared Madrid's blushes with a late winner.
Celta have been rocked by the news that Chile midfielder Fabian Orellana has been separated from the squad due to a disciplinary matter and told by coach Eduardo Berizzo that he will never play for the Galician club again while he is in charge.
"The decision is based on an unacceptable lack of respect," the Argentine said on Tuesday. "I have handed my decision to the club and he has been separated from the squad. With me he won't be part of the team again."
That is a big blow for Celta, who will be without one of their most exciting players. And Berizzo will hope his players can unite in his absence in Wednesday's Copa clash.
On the opposite bench, meanwhile, Zidane will also be hoping for a reaction. After 40 matches unbeaten, it is time for Madrid to pick themselves up and start all over again.