Saturday 6 March 2019. Eibar were the visitors to the Spanish capital club but Los Blancos' current malaise left seats empty in huge numbers.
The first home game of the 2018/19 LaLiga Santander season saw Real Madrid record their lowest attendance in a decade, with less than 49,000 spectators there to watch the new reign of Julen Lopetegui. On Saturday 6 March 2019, the third lowest number, just 50,284, came to the Santiago Bernabéu, as Eibar strolled into town. Huesca's visit saw 49,293.
Madrid losing attraction
There has been a general drop off in terms of capacity filling for Los Blancos this season, much of which has been put down to the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, a player that gets attention wherever he goes. There are, however, other factors to take into consideration regarding supporters' interest in paying good money to see their team. There wasn't, though, the reasonable excuse that was put forward in the Getafe game, that many Spaniards were still away on their summer holiday.
Firstly, the team's current situation must have a large bearing on how many turn up. For one, there is nothing more than pride to play for in the remaining fixtures, following an exit from the Champions League, the Copa del Rey, and their distant relationship in the table to leaders Barcelona. If anything, the risk of a complete collapse seeing them fall out of the top four could be the only motivation left.
Eibar are rightly getting plenty of plaudits, but there's no denying that they are not a side to get the average fan's excitement going. Nor would the opposition drive significant tourist traffic to the Bernabéu, a problem exacerbate by the lack of investment in star names in recent seasons. The return of Zinedine Zidane to the bench - after the disappointing spells under Lopetegui and Santiago Solari - was meant to lift the mood around the club.
With many now writing this season off early, the summer movements and start of the next campaign will need to breathe new fire into the watching thousands.