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Real Madrid have had an up-and-down season after Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane left the club last summer.
Julen Lopetegui succeeded Zizou as Los Blancos manager, but he failed to kickstart the Spanish club's season in the post-Zidane, post-Ronaldo era and was ultimately sacked in October after Barcelona thrashed Madrid 5-1 in El Clásico.
Former Real Madrid Castilla boss Santiago Solari initially arrived as a caretaker manager, only to be appointed permanently to the first team's head coach in November.
Sure, Madrid have bounced back in the league and have remained in the Champions League (for now at least), but there's no denying that Ronaldo has left a massive void at the club.
According to ESPN's Alexis (AKA 'MisterChip' on Twitter), the reigning Champions League holders have missed the 34-year-old Portuguese footballer's incredible goalscoring influence.
For example, Madrid have only scored 37 times in 20 matches at the Santiago Bernabéu this season.
When that is compared with the nine seasons that Ronaldo was at the club, Los Blancos averaged 62 goals in their first 20 home games.
That leaves a 25-goal gap that hasn't been
plugged this campaign, which is an unreal stat in itself.
And there, folks, you have the CR7 effect in full effect.
#OJOALDATO - El Real Madrid solo ha marcado 37 goles en los 20 partidos que ha jugado esta temporada en el Bernabéu. En las 9 temporadas en las que estuvo Cristiano, el Madrid promedió 62 goles en sus primeros 20 partidos de casa (25 goles por temporada más que en esta campaña).
- MisterChip (Alexis) (@2010MisterChip) 2 March 2019
In fact, Madrid are well aware of the problems that they have faced without their former talisman.
Following on from back-to-back defeats in El Clásico at the Bernabéu last week, Luka Modrić revealed that the club have missed the influence of the Juventus ace.
"He's a player every team would miss. Looking for a replacement for Cristiano is almost impossible. What he's done for this club... of course we miss Ronaldo," he told reporters (via FOX Sports Asia).
"What the club tried was for other players to fulfil his role, which was divided between the attacking players. And that's not easy.
"Cristiano scored 50 goals and you can't find someone who scores so many.
"Some [players] had to take a step forward and not scoring 50, but for three players to score at least 15-20 or ten goals. And we don't have that. That's why I think it's our biggest problem this year.
"For example, in the Copa
against Barcelona, we had a lot of chances but an opponent with so much quality punishes you."
The 33-year-old Croatian midfielder, who won the 2018 Ballon d'Or ahead of Ronaldo, said that the club have to embrace life without the former Manchester United star, saying that Gareth Bale is one of the players who could rise to the occasion.
"Cristiano is not here, but we can't complain about that for ten years," he added.
"The club has put faith in other players like Gareth [Bale], [Marco] Asensio, Karim [Benzema], they signed Mariano, Vinícius [Júnior] is here and he's doing really well for his age.
"[Bale] is okay. Sometimes a player enters a phase of their career where they don't feel better. Everyone goes through it. I did in the past.
"He looks happy and excited. We can't forget what he's done for this club, things that are very easy to forget.
"He wants to work and he wants to get back to being the usual Gareth. He has a lot to give to this team. He has to work, work and work."
Meanwhile, Ronaldo has been thriving in Serie A since his arrival at Juventus. He is currently tied for the Italian league's top scorer alongside Sampdoria forward Fabio Quagliarella.
Did Madrid make the wrong decision in selling Ronaldo last year?
Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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