It was no coincidence that as soon as Cristiano Ronaldo fired home his last goal in the famous white shirt of Real Madrid, Karim Benzema stepped out of the shadows to become the new leading man at the Santiago Bernabau.
At Bayer Leverkusen, Lucas Alario is benefiting from a similar situation.
The Bundesliga giants sold both their most influential attackers in the summer, with Kai Havertz and Kevin Volland joining Chelsea and Monaco respectively in big-money deals.
Thankfully, Leverkusen decided against letting Alario follow the pair of German internationals out the door.
“The only team that has shown interest in Alario is Celtic,” the Argentine international’s agent told Europa Calcio in September. “But he wants to play in a competitive league.”
While Rangers are doing their level best to make Scottish football “competitive” again after almost a decade of green-and-white domination, £16 million Alario has silenced the doubters among Leverkusen fans, who needed a new hero – and new goalscorer.
After thumping home a searing volley fellow Argentine Gabriel Batistuta would have been proud of in the Europa League on Thursday, Alario scored twice in a 3-1 Bundesliga victory over Augsburg last night.
An early penalty was followed by a a typically towering header that is fast becoming his trademark.
“Lucas is in top shape. He is my only centre-forward,” coach Peter Bosz told Kicker of a man who is making life after Havertz a little more bearable.
“He is very important to us. He scores the goals. Not just today, also in previous games. That’s why it’s very important.”
That is five in six now for Alario.
After a week from hell in the absence of Odsonne Edouard, Celtic can only pray for a striker with that sort of track record.
Here’s what some fans had to say about Alario’s latest performance: