Former Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes believes the Santiago Bernabeu side will sorely miss Xabi Alonso in Saturday's Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.
The midfielder picked up a yellow card in Los Blancos' 4-0 second-leg semi-final win over Bayern Munich, ruling him out of Saturday's showpiece in Lisbon, and Morientes says Alonso is a massive loss for Carlo Ancelotti's side.
"He offers his team good balance and has been their driving force," the former Madrid striker told Fifa.com.
"He's such a crucial player so Madrid will really miss him."The ex-Spain international then went on to state that the availability of Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo and Atletico hotshot Diego Costa - both of whom are injury doubts - could prove decisive, though he was at pains to point out that neither side is reliant upon their top scorer.
"When you think about who could really make the difference on the night, the forwards stand out, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa the most dangerous," Morientes mused.
"But you have to appreciate the contributions made in other areas of the pitch. Sergio Ramos and Pepe are crucial at the back for Real Madrid and both are in outstanding form.
"For Atletico it's more about the midfield, where Gabi and Arda Turan have brought good balance to their play."
Morientes also praised Ancelotti for what he had achieved in less than a year with the Liga giants, who have already claimed the Copa del Rey this season.
"He's brought an air of calm to the team, which was needed after a period of unrest surrounding the coaching staff," the ex-Liverpool forward enthused.