Had Real held on, Ronaldo’s substitution would have been a side-story. By the full-time whistle, it had become the story.
Giampaolo Pazzini’s 89th-minute strike had earned Levante a draw, their second of the season against Real. A side with just three Liga wins to their name this term had held the Spanish, European and world champions home and away.
As Pazzini was mobbed by his team-mates, the camera immediately turned back to Ronaldo, shaking his head on the bench in disgust.
Zidane, meanwhile, stood stone-faced on the touchline, half-heartedly trying to rally his troops for one last assault.
In truth, though, they never looked like netting a winner. Not this season. Whereas Real earned umpteen points in the closing stages of games last year, now they look bereft of ideas and confidence.
Their opponents know it too. Levante, like so many sides before them, are having a go at Madrid whenever they can. They smell blood. They know Madrid are a wounded animal.
According to Sergio Ramos, the players remain fully behind Zidane and last weekend’s resounding win at Valencia certainly supported that claim. Watch here the match high lights.