As Portugal ran riot against a pretty decent Switzerland side at the World Cup without the dropped Cristiano Ronaldo, the given narrative was that football was sharing an epiphany.
The reality, though, was that it was simply confirming what we have all known for a while now.
The uncomfortable truth, for him at least, is that Ronaldo stopped carrying Portugal a long time ago.
There doesn't have to be any drama in that, either. Ronaldo is 37-years-old and playing for a major footballing nation. Of course he is no longer the fulcrum of their team. It's not new information or anything that everyone didn't already know. The only thing that has really changed is that Fernando Santos has decided he would rather win a World Cup than not upset Ronaldo.
Because, let's face it, Portugal didn't have a hope in hell of winning a maiden World Cup in Qatar with the Ronaldo's ego constantly sucking the joy and freedom of out their football like some kind of insatiable dementor.
The insinuation is that it was his reaction to being substituted against South Korea that prompted Santos to drop Ronaldo and that may well be the case. However, it was the debacle over the opening goal against Uruguay that really shone a spotlight on what needed to be done.
That is when Ronaldo inadvertently played his hand. He didn't score. He tried every ab-popping celebration in the book to try to convince everyone he did, but he didn't and technology proved it. Even then he was unable to accept it and he took his quest to essentially steal a goal from a teammate all the way to FIFA.
The fact Portugal winning wasn't enough for him. He couldn't be happy for his friend and teammate. He couldn't take pleasure in just being part of it. He had to be it, and nothing else mattered.
Is it any wonder, then, that Portugal appeared to play with a freedom and joy in the 6-1 win over Switzerland that we have seldom seen from them? Suddenly they were no longer slaves to the ego of a teammate. Suddenly they were the stars, not the sidekicks, and the fervour with which they expressed it suggested they have been desperate for some time for the chance to prove it too.
The intention here is not to accuse Ronaldo of anything or disparage him in any way. We are not suggesting some scenario in which he rampages through the Portugal dressing room if people don't pass to him reigning with an iron fist of terror. Sometimes, though, a presence is simply so gargantuan that it naturally dominates. That is fine when it is also delivering, but those days are gone.
It is impossible to imagine Portugal attacking with such pace and incision as they did against Switzerland when playing through Ronaldo. In fact, at times in the first three matches at the World Cup, Ronaldo barely got involved at all until he got a sniff of goal.
There is not anything strictly wrong with that. All teams want to get the best out of their best players. The problem is that Ronaldo isn't Portugal's best player anymore, and treating him as such is a criminal waste of the masses of talent they have.
The good news is that Portugal appear to have figured that out just in time. The night before, Brazil raised the bar for what will be required to win this World Cup with their scintillating demolition of South Korea.
What Portugal produced against Switzerland, who are nobody's mugs, was a performance at the same level as that Brazilian one – and it's a level they cannot reach with Ronaldo in the team.
Hopefully Ronaldo embraces the role he should have had a long time ago. He can have a huge influence off the bench and as a leader and icon in the dressing room. You wouldn't put it past him to come on in a tight semi-final or final against tiring defenders and pinch a crucial goal. He can still have his moment.
It's clear that Portugal have finally accepted that those moments now are the best he has to offer on the World stage. The only question now is whether Ronaldo is prepared to accept it too. Hopefully he does, because the reality is that, if he wants to win a World Cup, he needs Portugal now a lot more than they need him.