By 90Min
March 05, 2019

Luka Modric has highlighted difficulty in front of goal as the reason for Real Madrid's struggles this season, admitting they have not been able to replace the goals of departed forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

A Ronaldo-less Real Madrid trail Barcelona by 12 points in La Liga after 26 games, while two Clásico defeats in quick succession has further highlighted the gulf between Spain's two biggest sides this campaign.

Karim Benzema is Madrid's top scorer so far this season with 11 goals, but he is only seventh on the overall La Liga scoring charts, while an infographic from Madrid daily AS (below) showed just how Los Blancos' goal output is suffering in the absence of Ronaldo.

OSCAR DEL POZO/GettyImages

Speaking ahead of the Champions League last 16 second leg clash with Ajax, Modric admitted that the team misses Ronaldo, while claiming that the forwards left at the team have not stepped up in his absence.

"Given what he did for us and this club, we miss Cristiano," said Modric, via BBC Sport.

"The club wanted the other players to make up for what Ronaldo did, divided between the strikers and that is not easy.

"Cristiano scored 50 goals and you can't find someone today who scores that many. Some of us have to take a step forward and, while not scoring 50, what we need is two or three players who score 15, 20, or 10 goals and we don't have that.

"That is our biggest problem this year. For example against Barça in the cup we had many chances and when you don't take advantage your opponent punishes you."

Gareth Bale has taken the brunt of the media criticism for his performances this season. The Welsh forward has scored 10 in 2018/19, but has struggled to find fitness and consistency.

Denis Doyle/GettyImages

Following a wave of criticism sparked by comments from teammates Marcelo and Thibaut Courtois regarding Bale's lack of integration into Spanish life, his agent hit back at heckling supporters claiming they should be ashamed of themselves.

Real Madrid take a 2-1 lead into the second leg of their clash with Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday evening.

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