Many have questioned Real Madrid's decision to sell Cristiano Ronaldo, but a former Los Blancos defender has now insisted the club is bigger than the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
The Portuguese striker is Real's all-time record goalscorer, having netted 450 times in 438 appearances for the Spanish giants, but joined Juventus in a €100 million (R1.58 billion) move ahead of the 2018/19 season.
Although Real have struggled in parts of this campaign after selling their main goalscorer, Santiago Solari's side is still fighting for three trophies.
Ahead of Wednesday night's Copa del Rey El Clasico, Soccer Laduma caught up with former Real defender Fernando Sanz – who came through the club's youth academy – and he insisted the club has always outlived the departures of superstar players such as Ronaldo.
"He is a big player, a legend of Real Madrid," Sanz told Soccer Laduma exclusively.
"But Real Madrid is bigger than Cristiano, than Alfredo Di Stefano, than all of the star players who have played for the club.
"Of course, it happened recently, but Real are always looking into the future and also have an eye on their academy for new stars.
"I think Real Madrid, right now, do not think about Cristiano Ronaldo, they are focusing on the players who are still at Madrid.
"They are playing for the – in my opinion – biggest club in the world and have a group of great players in the team right now."
Real will face bitter rivals Barcelona in the first of two El Clasicos within four days on Wednesday night, in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final, and a spot in the final is up for grabs after the first leg ended in a 1-1 draw.
You can read the whole interview with Sanz, during which he also chats about the toxic situation around Gareth Bale, new wonderkid Vinicius Junior and Lionel Messi, in this week's edition of Soccer Laduma, issue 1112.