With Real Madrid out of the Champions League after being humbled at the Etihad on Wednesday night, it will be hard for Los Blancos to look at this season and regard it as a success.
Rivals Barcelona sealed the La Liga title at Espanyol at the weekend, and the Copa del Rey will now remain the only trophy that Real Madrid will have to show for their efforts this season.
Given last season ended in a La Liga and Champions League double, it marks a disappointing turn in fortunes for Madrid, and questions will now be asked of how the club can return to the top.
Of course, there is no shame in losing to this exceptional Manchester City team - but, after Real dispatched of them in last year's semi-final, the emphatic manner of this year's defeat will sting the 14-times champions of Europe.
𝗚𝗔𝗠𝗘. 𝗦𝗘𝗧. 𝗠𝗔𝗧𝗖𝗛.
A Militao own goal has put Man City 3-0 ahead & on their way to Istanbul! pic.twitter.com/fpeM1WC4Bv
— Watch the UCL on LiveScore 🇮🇪 (@LiveScoreIE) May 17, 2023
With the spine of this team made up of long-term, ageing servants of the club, one club legend believes that questions will be asked and changes are afoot at the club.
Real Madrid: '98 Champions League winner weighs in on state of club
Predrag Mijatovic is a Real Madrid club hero, as the scorer of the goal which won them the 1998 Champions League final.
Speaking to the Spanish media in the aftermath of Real's Champions League exit, Mijatovic commented on which changes he saw coming at the club in the coming months.
With Casemiro departed, and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos nearing the end of their careers, we may be seeing a transition period in midfield for Real Madrid - but Mijatovic believes that Modric and Kroos will continue to play important roles, along with fellow veteran Karim Benzema.
It is up top where he foresees change. Though Mijatovic spoke up on behalf of Carlo Ancelotti, he said that he questions whether the Real Madrid hierarchy will have the same belief:
I believe that we can clearly speak of a cycle that has ended. We all know that Real Madrid needs a new striker, they need full-backs...but it's not easy. Where do you find them? How are they going to adapt?
You have to do a deep analysis and make decisions.
The renewals of Modric, Kroos or Benzema? I think it's the end of the cycle, but I don't think it's the end of seeing those players here. I don't think it's done in a day.
Ancelotti? It seems to me that he has quite a difficult time continuing. Personally, I would like to see him next year, but knowing a little how the people who make decisions in Madrid think, it is quite difficult for him.
Wednesday night was a heartbreaking way for Real Madrid to exit the Champions League, and one hopes it will not mark the footnote of the careers of so many icons of the club.