Los Blancos need to fill the void left by the Portuguese superstar, but none of their targets are available and they may have to make do as they are
A year ago on Thursday, Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain and the Blaugrana were left scrambling for overpriced players to replace the brilliant Brazilian in the remainder of the transfer window.
Real Madrid now find themselves in a similar situation. They have had more time than Barca did following the surprise sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus last month, yet they are no nearer to bringing in a replacement for a player considered one of the best in their history.
Cristiano contributed an amazing 450 goals in 438 games for Los Blancos across nine seasons in Spain and for all the talent in Julen Lopetegui's squad, there is not a player who can offer such stats. In fact, there are hardly any footballers in the world who could do so.
That is the dilemma for Real and for club chief Florentino Perez. The Madrid president initially earned fame for his Galacticos policy, yet he has not made such a signing since buying James Rodriguez for €80 million after the 2014 World Cup.
These days, the world's finest footballers are condensed at just a few super clubs, of which Real remain the biggest. With Ronaldo now gone and Lionel Messi off limits at Barcelona, there are only a handful of options for a replacement for the Portuguese – and all represent difficult deals to complete.