Luka Modric has confessed that Real Madrid have failed to replace Cristiano Ronaldo and concedes that it will be "almost impossible" to do so at the end of the season.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner left the Bernabeu last summer to join Juventus in a nine-figure deal, departing as Real's all-time leading scorer.
Much was expected of Vinicius Junior when he arrived at the same time but, while the youngster has enjoyed a positive first campaign on the whole, it will take some time before he can get anywhere near the same scoring figures as the man he was effectively brought in to replace.
Madrid have been tipped to move for a more prolific goalscorer in the summer, someone in the mould of Inter Milan ace Mauro Icardi, and Modric admits that filling the void left by Ronaldo has to be a priority.
"The absence of Cristiano is something every team would feel; to find a replacement for Cristiano is almost impossible," he told reporters ahead of Madrid's Champions League last-16 second leg against Ajax.
"Given what he did for us and this club, we miss Cristiano. The club wanted the other players to make up for what he 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 Barca in the cup we had many chances and when you don't take advantage your opponent punishes you.
"The club tried, and it seems good, putting faith in other players like Gareth [Bale], [Marco] Asensio, Karim [Benzema]; they brought in Mariano [Diaz], Vinicius is here. [Vinicius] is doing very well for the age he is but sometimes things don't go how we wanted them to."
Benzema leads the scoring charts for Madrid in La Liga this season, netting 11 goals in total.