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Luka Modric says players have failed to fill Cristiano Ronaldo's boots

File photo of Luka Modric. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Madrid, Spain Mar 04, 2019, 08.48 PM (IST)

Real Madrid's forwards have failed to fill the gap left by Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric said on Monday (March 4).

The Croatian, speaking ahead of Real's Champions League last-16, second-leg clash with Ajax on Tuesday (March 5), said his team lacked consistency and goals this season.

Madrid failed to score in two Clasicos against Barcelona last week, being eliminated from the Copa del Rey and then falling 12 points behind the Catalan league leaders, leaving retaining the Champions League as their only realistic hope of glory.

Ronaldo, the European champions' all-time top scorer, left in July to join Juventus and Madrid signed young attackers Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz but, according to Modric, no one has stepped to replace the Portuguese.

"Some (players) had to step up and well, not score 50 goals but at least what we are missing. 20 goals. I'm not going to give names but two or three players should have scored 15 or 20 goals or 10 goals but we don't have that," Modric said.

Vinicius Junior has been Madrid's driving force over the past few weeks but the 18-year-old has scored only three goals this season.

Club record signing Bale has 13 goals from 33 appearances in all competitions, while top scorer Benzema has netted 20 from 42.

Madrid hold a 2-1 lead over Ajax from the first leg and coach Santiago Solari hopes the team can progress despite the ban on captain Sergio Ramos for getting himself deliberately booked in the first leg.

Asked about rumours linking Jose Mourinho with a return to his former club, Solari dismissed the rumours, jokingly saying Real Madrid have more wooers than Julia Roberts.

Story highlights

Madrid failed to score in two Clasicos against Barcelona last week, being eliminated from the Copa del Rey and then falling 12 points behind the Catalan league leaders, leaving retaining the Champions League as their only realistic hope of glory.