Real Madrid must surely begin the long farewell to coach Jose Mourinho and star man Cristiano Ronaldo – the world’s most expensive player – after their Champions League semi-final defeat against arch-rivals Barcelona.
The controversial couple can hardly stay at the Bernebeu after the saga of the infamous four frantic Clasicos wound to its inevitable conclusion at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night.
Even former Real owner Ramon Calderon accepts they have gone too far after the shenigans surrounding the four games between the two sides over the past fortnight. He told the BBC: “Talk like this is harmful for Real Madrid. Big clubs should not blame the referee for their mistakes or their defeats.
"We invested £400m in the last two years to be a very important and strong team so if you lose you cannot blame injuries, bad luck, referees or nothing. If you lose you have to congratulate the rival and that is all.
"What Mourinho did in terms of talking about UEFA and referees is not acceptable at all."
Just as he did at Chelsea and Inter Milan, the Special One has talked himself out of a job despite his surprise win in the Copa Del Rey against the old enemy a fortnight ago.
Quotes like these simply don’t make for a long-term retirement plan. Mourinho, who watched the second leg from his hotel room 400 yards down the road “for security reasons” fumed: “ It's clear that against Barcelona you have no chance.
"I don't know if it's the publicity of Unicef [the club's shirt sponsor], I don't know if it's because they are very nice, but they've got this power.
"I don't know if it's the friendship of [Spanish football federation president Angel Maria] Villar at Uefa, where he is vice-president."
And former Manchester United star Ronaldo wasn’t holding back after a relatively peaceful 1-1 second leg draw saw Barca progress to the final at Wembley on May 28 with a 3-1 aggregate win.
Real’s iconic top scorer, threatened by a Barca fan just after half-time on Tuesday night (see picture) said: "Next year they might as well give the cup directly to Barcelona."
"The team is sad, but we knew it was an uphill battle.
"The name of the match is Mission Impossible IV. Once again it was the referee that didn't allow us to dictate the outcome. We knew we could beat Barca, but the referee didn't let us.
"Higuain's goal was good. Pique pushed me and I landed on Mascherano. He didn't used to fall to the ground in England, but he's picked up the bad habit of doing it here like everyone else.
"Those who know about football know Barca are very well protected. But you just have to live with all these injustices.""
It’s not as if Mourinho and Ronaldo don’t have a point. Higuain’s goal looked valid from where I sat and would have put the semi-final in the balance at 2-1.
Instead, the Belgian referee, surely a Waloon, judged Ronaldo to have fouled the gymnastic Mascherano as he fell under Gerard Pique’s push.
Decision after decision went the way of the diving, rolling, play-acting Catalans.
But they remain the best club side in the world – largely thanks to that little man Lionel Messi – and they are unlikely to slip up in the La Liga title race or the Champions League final as refereeing errs on the side of caution and ballet dancing.
Mourinho and Ronaldo have to accept modern football is no longer a man’s game. The tiny Messi is well protected – he had a record 12 fouls given against him on Tuesday night – and the dull Spanish World Cup winning ploy of possession and mincing is now simply the way of the softly-softly footballing world.
Given the passionate hatred between Catalan and Castillian – the Barcelona v Madrid split is a matter of historic nationalism and civil war not simply ball games – how can Mourinho or Ronaldo soldier on? How can they go through such perceived injustice against next season?
With Calderon joining the critique levelled by Alfredo di Stefano, what price on Mourinho returning to Chelsea with Ronaldo for a few billion Roman Abramovich roubles? Ronaldo needs another big money move before he hits middle age and Mourinho's defensive tactics, though they bring results, fail to live up to Madridista expectations.
At least in England’s Premier League the odd diver is booked. And nationalism counts for nothing when Manchester United face the Blues, as we will find out on Sunday.