A 2-1 defeat at the hands of Girona leaves Zinedine Zidane with an historic task if he wishes to take the crown again, although he remains defiant.
Real Madrid’s latest La Liga defeat has left the reigning champions trailing Barcelona by a deficit they have never previously overcome to win the title.
Goals from Cristhian Stuani and Portu led Girona to a famous 2-1 victory in their first-ever meeting with Madrid, who had taken the lead through Isco.
The result leaves Zinedine Zidane’s men languishing in third, closer to falling out of European qualification altogether than to Barcelona at the summit.
Barca did their part at the weekend with a 2-0 win over Athletic, extending the advantage over their Clasico rivals to eight points.
Zidane for his part remains defiant, stating: “We know we can turn this around. We will have better days and the other teams will drop points too over the season.
“We lost three points unexpectedly [but] we want to win La Liga, it is our day-to-day.”
But while only 10 games have passed in the current campaign, the omens do not look good for Madrid’s chances of retaining La Liga.
The club have never come back from eight points or more behind to take the title, a daunting statistic particularly given Barca’s near-impeccable record thus far.
Records, of course, are made to be broken, and neither Zidane nor his Barca counterpart Ernesto Valverde would rule Madrid out of the title race at this early stage.
But mathematically at least, the cold, hard fact is that Madrid are now dependent on their rivals slipping up if they are to have a hope of glory.
Prior to this weekend Madrid’s fate still rested in their own hands, given that both Clasicos are still to be played.
Now, however, even back-to-back victories over their rivals and a perfect record elsewhere would not be enough to wrestle La Liga from Catalunya unless Barca also drop points elsewhere.