Real Madrid's 50-a-year goal drain

Right now, I'm being peppered with messages from pals reminding me of the goalscoring exploits of strikers across Europe.

The likes of Erling Braut Haaland, who is now racking them up for Borussia Dortmund; Robert Lewandowski, a player with 38 to his name already at Bayern Munich this season; Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, who are filling their boots at Paris Saint-Germain; Sergio Agüero, a man still banging them in for Manchester City; and, of course, the legend that is Cristiano Ronaldo.

Real Madrid's unbeaten run was chiefly about the exploits of their defence - not their forwards

Any side out to win the top prizes generally needs a keeper and a striker who can make the difference. Madrid's strong defensive record over the past four months or so saw them put together a run that led to talk of a clean sweep of trophies - but perhaps not enough was made of the fact that their goals almost always seemed to come courtesy of midfielders or defenders, particularly Sergio Ramos.

Karim Benzema's goals are not enough to make up for the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo's 50 a season at Real Madrid.

Benzema's goals simply can't offset the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo's 50 a season

Karim Benzema is a number 10 with a number nine on his back, and it is simply unbelievable that the club did not face up to that reality and seek out a proven goal-getter when they decided to sell Cristiano to Juventus in 2018.

The 20-odd that Benzema scores each season cannot make up for the half-century that the Portuguese thumped in year in, year out in his time at the Bernabéu. We're talking about the kind of goal drain that can take league titles, Champions Leagues and Copas del Rey with it. By hook or by crook, Zinedine Zidane's men need to get that scoreboard ticking over.