What's the story?
Former Barcelona man Deco believes that European champions Real Madrid's current slump is a result of his former Portugal teammate Cristiano Ronaldo's exit.
In case you didn't know...
Ending his nine-year association with the LaLiga giants, Portuguese star Ronaldo moved away from the Bernabeu in a surprising £105 million transfer to Juventus over the summer.
Since then, his absence has left an indelible mark in the team as Los Blancos currently stand at the sixth place in LaLiga, having recently sacked manager Julen Lopetegui after their worst start in years.
The European champions are now being led by interim boss Santiago Solari, who appears to have done some good as the club registered their second win since Lopetegui's exit over the weekend.
The heart of the matter
Former Barcelona midfielder Deco has given his verdict on Real Madrid's current slump, stating that it is only natural for the team to be undergoing such a crisis after the loss of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
Speaking to Spanish publication Sport, Deco said, "I do not discuss whether they [Real] are playing well or badly, but did people really think they would be the same without Cristiano?"
"He is the best player in the history of Madrid and it is normal that the team suffers."
On whether his former club Barcelona would encounter a similar transitional situation when Messi leaves or retires, the midfielder said, "I do not know, but there is a difference: Cristiano's was quite sudden, it was not completely natural, it did not end little by little and that's why the club was not prepared."
The newly-revived Real Madrid side is set to go head-to-head against Plzen in a Champions League group clash on Thursday.