Real Madrid have a plan for how they will replace Cristiano Ronaldo's goals this season

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Arguably Julen Lopetegui's greatest challenge at Real Madrid will be replacing Cristiano Ronaldo after the five-time Ballon d'Or winner joined Juventus in a €100million deal.

In his last four seasons at the Bernabeu, the 33-year-old scored a total of 134 league goals, figures only surpassed by Lionel Messi, who has scored 140 times for Barcelona in La Liga over the same period.

It has been widely suggested that Ronaldo's transfer marks a significant moment in Los Blancos' recent history because Florentino Perez sees this as the end of the 'Galactico' era.

Concrete interest in Eden Hazard would seem to refute that, yet you can hardly blame Lopetegui for wanting to bolster his attack in light of his key man's departure.

After Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema was the European champions' top scorer in all competitions last season with a rather unimpressive 10 goals.

That makes fairly worrying reading, but according to a report in Marca, the Frenchman - who was left out of Didier Deschamps' World Cup-winning squad - is still part of Real's plans.

The Spanish publication are suggesting that Lopetegui plans to fill the void by signing Mauro Icardi from Inter Milan and using him either as a strike partner for Benzema, or to provide competition for the 30-year-old.

Is Icardi the right fit? 

Icardi has had a tumultuous career in Milan, warring with Nerazzurri ultras, nearly losing the captaincy, and failing to make Argentina's squad this summer, Jorge Sampaoli selecting Cristian Pavon instead.

That was in spite of his 29 goals in 34 Serie A appearances in 2017/18 and while he shot back up in the estimation of the San Siro faithful this season, he has long been linked with Madrid.

FC Internazionale v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A

Indeed, the club reportedly made an initial approach in the January transfer window, but as they rarely sign players in the winter, a deal never got over the line.

And speaking of deals, the 25-year-old has not signed an extension with Inter, hence why Luciano Spalletti has begun sounding out potential replacements.

Only time will tell whether a partnership of Icardi and Benzema will be able to produce anywhere near the number of goals Ronaldo contributed. 

Would Icardi and Benzema be a good enough partnership for Real? Have your say in the comments.

Jorge Sampaoli
Cristian Pavon
Julen Lopetegui
Luciano Spalletti
Mauro Icardi
Karim Benzema
Argentina Football
Inter Milan
Eden Hazard
Real Madrid
Lionel Messi
Gareth Bale
Cristiano Ronaldo

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