Real Madrid’s failure to replace Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals has contributed to their struggles this season, Real who chasing a fourth European title in a row, host Ajax in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday having won 2-1 in Amsterdam.
But they come into the game on the back of three consecutive home defeats including two by Barcelona last week. “Given what he did for us and this club, we miss Cristiano,” said Modric. Ronaldo was top scorer, or joint top scorer, in the past six Champions League seasons. Who scored a club record 450 goals in nine years before his £99m summer move to Juventus.
But they failed to sign a big-money replacement and only three of their players have scored more than five goals this season – Karim Benzema (20), out-of-favour Gareth Bale (13) and centre-back Sergio Ramos (11).
Real captain Ramos starts a two-game ban for “for clearly receiving a yellow card on purpose” during the first leg – which the Spanish side were fortunate to win, while midfielder Marcos Llorente is injured.