How can Real Madrid replace Ronaldo?

By Charlie Scott

Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid for €100 million to move to Italian giants Juventus in the summer. Ronaldo was at Real for nine years, scoring 311 goals and winning the Ballon d’Or four times.

Since the move, Ronaldo has flourished with Juventus, who are having their best start to a season; but his former team are struggling. Los Blancos are sixth in La Liga, seven points off their bitter rivals Barcelona, their worst-ever start to a season.

With Real not making any major signings this summer, the question has to be asked: who could they replace Ronaldo with?

5. Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah joined Liverpool in 2017 for €42m from Roma. Salah hit the ground running for Liverpool by scoring on his debut and going on to score 32 league goals in the 2017-18 season.

Salah was awarded the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award and led Liverpool to their first Champions League final in 11 years. He recently became the fastest-ever player to score 50 goals for the club, achieving the landmark in his 65th game.

Salah’s form has led to speculation that he could make a big-money move to Madrid. Salah being a fast winger means he would fit well into a team that play high-tempo football and use counter-attacks productively.

However, with Salah’s favoured position being on the right he would force Gareth Bale over to the left. Ronaldo’s absence from the left-wing position means Salah wouldn’t directly fill the void.

Ronaldo Replacement Ranking 3/5

4. Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann signed for Atletico Madrid in 2014 for a fee of around €30m and has scored 82 goals so far for the Spanish side. Griezmann won the FIFA World Cup in 2018 for France, putting in a Man-of-the-Match display in the final.

So why should they sign him? Griezmann has played in La Liga for the last nine seasons so knows the league very well. He has the ability to play against world-class teams, such as giants Barcelona.

In Ronaldo’s absence, Madrid have struggled to score goals, and that’s what Griezmann can bring to them. As a natural centre-forward, he would be able to play in the number nine role for Real with Bale and Isco either side of him.

Karim Benzema is Real’s main striker now but is inconsistent when it comes to scoring and performing in big matches. This is where Griezmann would be able to fit in.

Many clubs have planned to draw Griezmann away from Atletico, but he has remained loyal to them. It seems unlikely that Griezmann would make the short journey to their local rivals.

Ronaldo Replacement Rating 3/5

3. Neymar

Neymar signed for PSG in 2017 for a world-record fee of €222m. He has since scored 28 goals, winning the Ligue 1 title in his first season.

However, life at PSG hasn’t been what Neymar had hoped it would be, with the side struggling in the Champions League.

This has led to speculation that Neymar would be the ideal replacement for Ronaldo at Real. He has had history in La Liga, playing for Barcelona for four seasons, winning the league twice.

Neymar would fit into the Real side, playing on the left side in attack with Bale and Benzema. He would add to the fast-tempo football that they play and also has the ability to score a lot of goals himself. He also has the fan appeal to fill Ronaldo’s boots, and the ego to match him.

Ronaldo Replacement Rating 4/5

2. Kylian Mbappé

Kylian Mbappé is a French forward who plays for PSG. He signed for PSG on loan in 2017 with the subsequent permanent transfer fee estimated at around €175m. He has scored 24 goals for the club and was instrumental in France winning the 2018 World Cup.

At just 19 years old he is tipped to become the next biggest thing in football, being compared to a young Thierry Henry.

Mbappé would be an ideal fit for Real, and a long-term investment for the club. He would fit into their style of play and he is a very versatile player who has the ability to score a lot of goals for Real.

However, with PSG only paying the €175m at the start of this season, they would be reluctant to sell Mbappé on already.

Ronaldo Replacement Rating 4/5

1. Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard signed for Chelsea in 2012, and has since gone on to win two Premier League trophies. He has also won PFA Players’ Player of the Year award and been named in the Premier League Team of the Year on multiple occasions.

Hazard has become the apex of Chelsea’s attack, carrying them to a lot of victories. Hazard’s positioning is key to his game: he can play on the left but also shift to a central position if he needs to in order to win the ball or find scoring positions.

Hazard would be able to fit into the gap that Ronaldo on the left side of Real’s attack. He can break with pace but is also able to slow things right down outside the penalty area in order to create chances for himself or his teammates.

Hazard would therefore be the perfect fit to replace Ronaldo at Real.

Ronaldo Replacement Rating 5/5

 

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