When Real Madrid sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus in a block-busting transfer-window move, the greatest domestic rivalry in history with Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi was ended.
The two familiar foes will undoubtedly continue to battle it out for football's most prestigious individual and European honours with their respective sides, but in LaLiga at least a new face will have to step into Ronaldo's boots to challenge the awesome Messi for the best in the division.
For Los Blancos, Gareth Bale is the man many are tipping to fill at least some of the sizeable void left by Ronaldo's dramatic departure, while on the other side of the capital Antoine Griezmann's decision to remain with Atletico Madrid is a huge boost to Diego Simeone.
So, how have Bale and Griezmann stacked up at their respective clubs? We have crunched the Opta numbers to assess how big of a challenge they face in trying to rival Messi.
INJURY-FREE BALE MEANS GOALS, GRIEZMANN PROLIFIC
Bale's injury issues restricted him to just 19 LaLiga appearances in the 2016-17 season, a campaign in which he scored seven goals.
However, in 26 games last term he returned an impressive 16 and in 126 matches he has 70 goals to his name for Madrid.
Griezmann has a similarly impressive goal return. Despite having been at Atleti for one season fewer than Bale has at Madrid, the World Cup winner has 79 in 143 matches.
The France forward netted 19 times last term, an upturn on the 16 from the season before but down on the 22 he managed in each of his first two campaigns.
Bale's numbers suggest he needs more shots for his goals, with 339 efforts taken compared to 272 for Griezmann, while the latter is also more accurate with 162 attempts on target – the same as Bale, who has taken 67 more shots.
An incredible player and a top guy! It has been a pleasure to play alongside you for the last 5 years. Good luck for the future my friend pic.twitter.com/KBYLMYaWjP— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) July 10, 2018
ASSISTS HEADING IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS
In Bale's first three campaigns at Madrid, he proved a generous team-mate and teed up 31 assists for his colleagues.
However, in over the past two he has tallied just four (two in each campaign), while the highest amount of passes over the course of a season he has amassed is 869 in 2014-15.
Griezmann has gone in the opposite direction, providing more assists than the previous season in each of his four at Atleti.
After laying one just one goal in 2014-15, Griezmann's following three returned five, eight and nine respectively. His highest amount of passes was 1356 in 2015-16.
GRIEZMANN HAS THAT WINNING FEELING, BALE CAN COUNT HIS MEDALS
In terms of LaLiga wins, Bale has never managed to rack up more in a campaign than Griezmann, who had 19 to the Welshman's 14 last term.
But while Griezmann has just a solitary Europa League medal to his name, Bale has won three Champions League titles, a LaLiga and a Copa del Rey victory on his resume.
The truth of the matter is that bar Ronaldo, no player on the planet can boast numbers to begin to rival Messi, who has 383 goals and 149 assists in 418 LaLiga matches for Barca.
Griezmann and Bale are both extraordinary players in their own right, and the former will head into the new campaign boosted by his World Cup triumph with France.
Add in the fact that Atleti have signed Thomas Lemar in the close season, and Diego Costa will play a first full campaign since re-joining from Chelsea, then Griezmann may just have the edge.
25 de mayo 2019
|Hamilton beats out Bottas as Leclerc suffers Monaco nightmare|
|Reynolds hurt but Rabbitohs still too strong for Wests Tigers|
|Ronaldo rested before Allegri heads for the beach|
|Nagelsmann can establish Leipzig at the top - Rangnick|
|Europa League win would cap ´dream´ Chelsea season, says Emerson|
|Rebels have cause to celebrate, Waratahs hurt by Jaguares|
|Tuchel extends PSG contract to 2021|
|Marquinhos ´didn´t understand´ Mbappe´s PSG exit hint|
|Van Dijk out to improve on ´nuts´ Barca clash in Champions League final|
|Wood worry for England ahead of World Cup|
|Kompany takes Manchester City academy coach to Anderlecht|
|Terry will manage Chelsea before Lampard does, says Wise|
|Keary blow for Blues ahead of Origin opener in Brisbane|
|French Open 2019: Is clay king Nadal finally vulnerable at Roland Garros?|
|French Open 2019: Unburdened Federer has a free hit on Roland Garros return|
|Yelich first to 20 homers, Diamondbacks score 18 runs|
|Bucks won´t overuse Giannis in pursuit of NBA Finals – Budenholzer|
|MLS Review: LAFC roll on with Impact win, Galaxy end skid|
|Tabarez confident Suarez will be fit for Copa America|
|Ranieri to pay fine if De Rossi wears special armband in Roma farewell|
|Blue Jays team-mates Biggio and Guerrero make MLB history|
|Aulas: Fekir allowed to leave Lyon|
|Lionel Messi wins sixth European Golden Shoe|
|Mets sign Kemp after losing Cespedes to injury|
|Jaguars´ Fournette happy to have fresh start with new season|
|Curry: Warriors will carry on when Durant returns|
|Blixt leads Charles Schwab Challenge|
|Wydad Casablanca 1 ES Tunis 1: 10-man hosts earn draw in Champions League final opener|
|Yelich´s beer chugging skills convinced Brewers of his back health|
|´That´s not facts´ – Durant disputes idea Warriors are better in his absence|
|Tuchel expects PSG stay despite late-season wobble|
|Afghanistan pull off Pakistan upset|
|Caen relegated to Ligue 2 as Dijon book play-off|
24 de mayo 2019
|Teenager Yastremska stands between Garcia and Strasbourg success|
|LeBron ´likes´ Instagram photo of Kyrie in Lakers jersey|
|How Weaver and City´s Wembley heroes paved the way for Guardiola glory|
|Mbappe ensures PSG make Ligue 1 history despite defeat|
|Zverev to face Jarry in Geneva Open final|
|Reims 3 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Final day misery for Tuchel´s men|
|Djokovic smashes Roland Garros floor with medicine ball|
|Djokovic has ´extra motivation´ to prosper in Paris|
|Adam ´Pacman´ Jones announces retirement from NFL|
|Schwab hits the front at Made in Denmark|
|Villas-Boas not interested in return to ´chaotic´ Premier League|
|Pope commits to Burnley after injury woes|
|Fenerbahce face UEFA sanctions after FFP breach|
|Zakarin climbs to stage win, Polanc retains pink jersey|
|Valverde keen to keep Barca focus on Copa final, not his future|
|I want to stay at Juventus - Dybala disputes brother´s claims|
|Federer has no expectations heading into French Open|
|Messi still trying to forget Barcelona´s Anfield nightmare|
|England captain Morgan expected to be fit for World Cup opener|
|Nadal open to grand slam rule changes|
|Jonas Lossl to join Everton on a free|
|Neuer to start for Bayern in DFB-Pokal final|
|Benfica want full €120m release clause for Joao Felix|
|Low welcomes Sane to Bayern rumours|
|Kyrgios withdraws from French Open due to illness|
|Kovac´s Bayern future not in question - Rummenigge|
|Morris not surprised by Lampard´s Chelsea links|
|Reds fall to ruthless Chiefs, Kuridrani stars for Brumbies|
|Villas-Boas expecting Bale to make Premier League return|
|Pique: Anfield opened scars of Rome for Barcelona|
|Osaka wants to channel Melbourne mindset in Paris|
|Cronk´s absence felt as NRL premiers Roosters thrashed by in-form Knights|
|Real Madrid fume at Pochettino´s accommodation joke|
|Halep relaxed ahead of French Open title defence|
|Chiellini would ´hate´ to see former Juventus boss Conte at Inter|
|Oh-no Fernando! Sri Lanka opener taken off on a stretcher following injury|
|A manager of Manchester is coming - Allegri mischievously drops Guardiola hint|