Real Madrid haven’t scored for more than five hours, due in no small part to the inability of its No.9, Karim Benzema, being able to find the back of the net.
In those 319 minutes, supporters have apportioned blame both in the Frenchman’s direction, and also to the club’s board, after letting their best goal scorer move to Turin.
Benzema is under more pressure than ever.
Even though his job during the last decade has been to accompany the best finisher of his time, he was expected to free himself from a supposed straitjacket to take the baton from Los Blancos‘ all-time top scorer.
But that hasn’t happened.
Despite a great start to the season with five goals in four games, Benzema has stalled.
This year he has no excuse, whereas in 2017/18 particularly, he could argue that he was a creator of goals for Ronaldo.
Six encounters without scoring, of which Real Madrid have only won two.
Some say that the Frenchman feels a disconnect, that he isn’t involved in the game because he occupies a different position now, and that he hasn’t been able to reconvert himself for what he is being asked to do.
What’s worse is that he’s only had 15 shots all season, just three more than Sergio Ramos and half that of Gareth Bale.
And his involvement in the attack, beyond the shots, isn’t flourishing either.
He played fewer passes than Ceballos, had less presence in the area than Asensio and worst of all, in Moscow, wearing the captain’s armband, again showed his indolence in some phases of the match.
So many drops of despair have been shed that they could’ve filled the glass several times.
However, Karim always found, at the last moment, a rope to hold onto and pull him out of the abyss.
Two decisive matches to win the Champions League – at Vicente Calderon and in Kiev is a case in point.
Just 12 goals in 47 games and three streaks of six games without a goal has got everyone concerned again, however.
There are many voices asking the coach how he feels about the striker, and whether he should take away the privilege of being a starter.
Julen Lopetegui, for the moment, has shown confidence in him, but gives the feeling that there will be no more chances if he doesn’t immediately turn around the situation.
There’s no more margin for error.