Los Blancos beat Getafe 2-0 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu thanks to goals from Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale, but Goal's Ronan Murphy reported only 48,466 were in attendance for their first La Liga match of the season.
As Murphy noted, the last time Real hosted such a small crowd was in their final game of the 2008-09 campaign on May 24, 2009, when they were in the midst of a five-game losing streak. They signed Ronaldo from Manchester United not long after.
Journalist Muddassir Hussain highlighted it was far from the ideal home introduction for Julen Lopetegui as he seeks to continue the fine work undertaken by predecessor Zinedine Zidane:
Ronaldo's move to Turin was always bound to have a negative impact on Real's following, at least initially, but few might have predicted the drop-off in support at the Bernabeuwould be as drastic and swift.
That being said, sportswriter Andreas Vou said the late kick-off time on Sunday could have been at least partly to blame for the low attendance:
Andreas Vou @AndreasVou89
The 48,000 attendance at the Bernabeu last night could be down to the fact that many people are on holiday around this time, and the match kicked off at 10.15pm on a Sunday. But the last two season openers at the Bernabeu: 18/08/13: v Betis - 76,870 25/08/14: v Cordoba - 70,356
Gareth Bale stepped into the spotlight to contribute a match-winning performance for Real despite the empty seats, scoring one goal and helping set up the other as the post-Ronaldo era began in Madrid.
Ronaldo may be gone, but that doesn't mean new attractions can't step in where the Portuguese once dazzled and invite those to come back to the Bernabeu if Lopetegui can quickly get his team in order.
The Spanish Football Podcast agreed the timing of the fixture had a big impact on attendance, which Real will hope improves after they clinched three points in their first match of the new campaign:
The Allianz Stadium is now the venue that will benefit most from having five-time Ballond'Or winner Ronaldo on the books.
Real's hierarchy won't be worried for the time being, but those in power will hope to see figures improve as the stars left at the Bernabeu seek to restore attendance to what it was.