Real Madrid players are lining up to concede how much they rely upon Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals following Saturday’s draw with Levante.

The reigning La Liga champions are currently unable to call upon the services of their talismanic forward as he serves a five-match ban for collecting a red card and shoving the referee during a Super Cup clash with Barcelona in August.

That could spell further bad news for Zinedine Zidane’s side, who have collected just one victory from their opening three league games this season – with a 1-1 draw at home to Levante seeing them drop vital points as they once again failed to spark in the final third.

Theo Hernandez told reporters after that contest: “Maybe we did lack a little spark but we gave everything. We do need Cristiano to score goals but we don’t necessarily need a No. 9. The squad will continue as it is.”

Marcos Llorente added: “These things happen and we must keep working. It is clear that in this team, he [Ronaldo] is very important and has an ability to score incredible goals.”

Madrid’s lack of striking options is now being exposed, with the club having opted against bringing in a replacement for Alvaro Morata this summer after offloading the Spain international to Chelsea for £70 million.

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