Luka Modric insists Real Madrid always believed they would get back to winning trophies after Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus in 2018.
The Portugal star departed Madrid for Turin in a €112million ($181M AUD) deal shortly after winning his fourth Champions League with Los Blancos and tasted Serie A glory in his first season in Italy.
Madrid went on to win the 2018 Club World Cup but otherwise endured a disappointing season, with Barcelona claiming the league title, Liverpool winning the Champions League and Valencia lifting the Copa del Rey.
However, with Zinedine Zidane installed as head coach again in March last year, Los Blancos emerged triumphant during the disrupted 2019-20 season to win the league title again.
Modric insists there was never a problem in terms of the team's ambition once Ronaldo had left for Juve.
"It's pointless discussing how important Ronaldo was for Real, but I must say we were not burdened by the fact he was no longer there in the sense that we weren't able to generate the same ambition," he told Sportske Novosti.
"We were convinced we'd continue to win trophies even without him because, regardless of the strength of the individual, the team is always above everything."
Eden Hazard joined Madrid from Chelsea last year for €100million ($161M AUD) in a deal seen by many as a means to fill the void left by Ronaldo on the left of the Madrid attack.
However, the Belgium international's first season in Spain has been blighted by injuries, and he only managed 14 league starts.
Modric, though, has advised Hazard to be patient when it comes to rediscovering his best form, just as he did after joining from Tottenham in 2012.
"I loved watching him at Chelsea. Since he came [to Madrid], he hasn't had any luck with his health. You could see how eager he was to play and show what he can do," Modric said.
"I went through those stages of high expectations and the process of adjusting, of the disruptive bad luck, so I told him he just has to be patient."