From the 46th minute onwards, though, it was as though two completely different teams were playing and suddenly Busquets and Messi were granted the freedom of the immaculate Bernabeu turf, with the result that Busquets sprang the move for the first goal, Messi created the chance for Luis Suarez that eventually led to the second, and it could have been a lot more as the Blaugrana found gaps with alarming ease every time they came forward.
One surprise was the inclusion of Mateo Kovacic in the line-up, something that Zidane justified afterwards.
He said: 'Stop spreading sh** I knew my other two team-mates were already going to be subbed on. "Bad", Zidane told reporters after the game.
On Saturday afternoon that Catalan side once again notched three past Los Blancos, this time at the Bernabeu and without Real getting on the scoresheet.
Madrid, meanwhile, look to be well out of the title race. Saturday's loss leaves them 14 points behind leaders Barcelona, and there is the possibility of them struggling to finish the season in the top four, with Sevilla trailing closely behind.
Before long, he won't get many more chances.
Reports in Spain have hinted at discontent in the Real dressing room between Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zidane.
Realistically, Perez would be taking drastic measures even by his own standards if he dismissed Zidane now, and the Frenchman probably has a few weeks to show that he really is capable of turning things around.
Real return to action after the Christmas break with a Copa del Rey last-16 first-leg trip to Numancia on January 4.