Zinedine Zidane has declared that he would have liked Alvaro Morata to stay at Real Madrid after Los Blancos failed to find a replacement for the new Chelsea number nine during the summer transfer window.

Morata played a crucial role in Los Blancos's successful last campaign, scoring 20 goals despite being restricted to a secondary role while serving as a back-up for Karim Benzema.

The Spanish international decided to leave the club in order to secure more regular time and Real Madrid eventually sanctioned his departure to Chelsea in a deal worth around £60m.

Zidane then suggested that the Champions League winners were going to spend the money in a replacement after they had previously also sold Mariano to Lyon.

Kylian Mbappe was said to be Real Madrid's number one target to fill the void but the French starlet eventually moved from Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain – and Los Blancos didn't sign any alternative.

The decision has been under scrutiny in recent days after Los Blancos have been held to consecutive draws by Valencia and Levante in La Liga.

Furthermore, while Morata is enjoying an impressive start to the life at Chelsea, Zidane was hit by a further blow on weekend with Benzema suffering an injury which is expected to keep him on the sidelines for between four and six weeks.

Zidane suggested that Los Blancos eventually tried and failed to sign a number nine in the summer but backed his squad to cope with the situation ahead of the Champions League opener against APOEL on Wednesday night (13 September).

"We cannot do anything until January now. When you look at the players we had, Morata and Mariano, and now we only have Mayoral, it might look like we're missing a number nine, but it wasn't to be in the end [to bring in another]. I wanted to see Morata stay, but he wanted to play more and we have to respect that," the Real Madrid boss admitted in the press conference before identifying a potential solution in academy starlet Borja Mayoral.

"We don't have to go any further into it, we will find a solution. I have every faith in Mayoral. He is young and eager to play. We are going to stick to our guns and I am convinced that in doing so, we will do very well. He will be with us tomorrow, I am here to make decisions. The players and I know how we're going to play. He is a new option for us."

Zidane
Zidane admits that Real Madrid are missing a striker following the consecutive draws with Valencia and Levante. Getty