It may have been the confirmation that Real Madrid were the best football team in the world, however since they won the Club World Cup, Los Blancos have been anything but.
In fact, they’re not the first team to have dropped off the pace in this manner as a number of top clubs have experienced great difficulty since the tournament’s revamp in 2005.
Internacional saw off Barcelona in the Club World Cup’s second year, a victory which failed to see the Brazilian club continue to threaten at the global top table having lost in the 2010 showpiece semi-finals before relegation from the Brasileiro Serie A in 2016.
Things haven’t got that bad for Inter, AC Milan, or Manchester United, yet, although these three giants of world football have barely featured in the Champions League since their respective crownings, let alone had a chance to regain the global title.
As for Real, their current woes started with Lucas Vazquez and Sergio Ramos’ injuries back in Japan and fitness problems have hit almost the entire squad in January, leading to a number of defeats and the end to their Copa del Rey hopes.
Specific fears abide in the Spanish capital, also, of a repeat to the 2015 run of dire form that did for Carlo Ancelotti in the aftermath of their Club World Cup triumph that eventually lost them the league title.