For the first time since May 2015 – a run stretching 46 months – Real Madrid is out of the Champions League.
Not since the semifinal against Juventus four seasons ago has Real tasted the bitterness of elimination from Europe’s premier club competition.
This time, on an enthralling evening in the Spanish capital, it was Ajax which put Real to the sword, scoring four stunning goals – the third awarded after an agonizing four-minute wait for VAR – to stun the reigning champion 4-1 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate.
When the Bernabeu floodlights come on and the Champions League anthem plays, this team has — at times in recent years — felt unbeatable.
Real’s season has now crumbled, the last trophy available to win this season evaporated from its grasp on a humiliating night on home soil.