Real Madrid's shock Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk could be partly to blame for Los Blancos' recent in-house issues involving Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, according to Miners star Tete.
Shakhtar recorded a remarkable 3-2 win at Madrid last month in their Champions League Group B opener, beating the Spanish title-holders despite being without 10 first-team players due to coronavirus.
Madrid were trailing 3-0 at half-time, as exciting Brazilian winger Tete opened the scoring with a neat finish in the 29th minute, before the 20-year-old had a hand in two more goals.
Zinedine Zidane's men attempted to fight back but could only get two goals in the second half, and they followed that defeat with another disappointing result on matchday two, barely salvaging a 2-2 draw away to Borussia Monchengladbach after going 2-0 down.
It was at half-time against Gladbach when Benzema was caught on camera slating team-mate Vinicius to Ferland Mendy in the tunnel, telling his compatriot not to pass to the Brazilian.
In the second half, Benzema failed to play a single pass to Vinicius, while Mendy looked for him on only two occasions, and Tete believes the tension behind such a situation may well have initially been brought on by their loss to Shakhtar.
"I think so," Tete told Stats Perform News when asked if losing to Shakhtar caused something of a crisis for Madrid.
"I believe they suffered some impact from that defeat. We were facing some issues in the squad due to COVID-19, but the most important thing was that we proved the strength of our squad.
"Many people expected us to lose by at least three goals in Madrid, they thought we weren't capable of dealing with the situation, but we surprised everyone. We beat Madrid in Madrid, the most successful club in the Champions League.
"So, I believe it was a shock for them, so if that problem between Benzema and Vinicius really happened, which I don't know if is true or not, but I do think Madrid were impacted after that defeat to us."
Shakhtar then held Inter to a 0-0 draw in their second group outing and Tete believes Shakhtar's performances across the two matches prove they are capable of potentially mounting a surprise challenge for the title.
"I personally always have high ambitions," he said, with Monchengladbach up next on Tuesday. "I think of reaching the final. The team has quality for it, we've shown that our squad has a lot of personality.
"So, we can go further and must keep working hard. On Tuesday there's another crucial game and hopefully it will go well.
"There's always a surprise package in the competition every year and we do think to be the one [this season]. It would be very important for Shakhtar as a club to reach the semi-final or the final, and we do have other surprises as an inspiration."