Cristiano Ronaldo is about to turn 31 years old and many believe the time has come for him to leave the Santiago Bernabeu when he can still earn himself a good contract in another club.
The Portugal international is entering the final stage in his career, and a section of the club directors believe they should sell him now that they can get some decent money for his transfer.
Thus, the chances of seeing Ronaldo flee Madrid next summer are higher than ever, and Los Blancos have already started looking for the perfect man to replace him. There is obviously no one in the world whose characteristics match those of the Portuguese, but some candidates have arisen who could decently fill that gap.
Here at Real Madrid News we have made our own ranking, analysing some of the players Real Madrid are eyeing and ordering them by how well we believe they would replace Ronaldo:
5. Raheem Sterling
The Manchester City forward was linked with Real Madrid, but ended up signing for the Citizens last summer. Yet, Los Blancos have not removed him from their wish-list. Sterling is possibly the most talented young player in Britain and any big European club would love to have him. He is a very versatile footballer, although he prefers to play as winger. He’s got great technical quality, but his main problem is the lack of consistency in his performances. The chances of him arriving at Madrid any time soon are really low, as City have just paid 68 million euros for him and are not willing to let him go.
4. Alexis Sanchez
The Chile international has been constantly linked with a move to Madrid during the past few months. The fans would enjoy seeing him in white, given his past at Barcelona, as it is always pleasant to feel you have stolen a player from your arch-rival. Alexis is fast, strong and has great quality, but he propably lacks the leadership skills Ronaldo’s substitute must have. Arsenal are not likely to let him go for less than 60 million euros, and for that money Los Blancos can probably sign a better player.
3. Douglas Costa
The 25-year-old Brazilian is impressing in his first season at Bayern Munich. He usually plays as a left winger but, unlike Ronaldo, he is more of an assist expert than a goal-scorer. He is well known for his crossing ability, his speed and his dribbling skills. He is able to create plenty of scoring chances, so he would probably complement Karim Benzema perfectly. With Pep Guardiola expected to leave Munich this summer, Costa would probably have less reasons to stay in Germany, and Real could be able to seduce him. Yet, Bayern are not willing to sell, so Florentino Perez would have to offer much more than the 30 million the Germans paid Shakhtar Donetsk last summer.
2. Memphis Depay
The Manchester United winger is struggling to show his quality with the Red Devils. He’s having a terrible season, having failed to qualify for the European Championship with the Netherlands and being knocked out of the Champions League with United. He is not happy at the moment, and that is something Los Blancos can take advantage of in order to sign a world-class footballer at an affordable price. Depay is a talented winger with great dribbling skills and physical strength. Just like Ronaldo, he usually plays an as inverted left winger who cuts onto his right foot, and he is also a good goal-scorer. He is probably the most similar player to Cristiano, but whether he will be able to develop into a Ballon d’Or candidate is still a doubt.
1. Eden Hazard
Ronaldo himself has praised Hazard as one of the most talented young players in football. Among all the candidates to replace the Portuguese, the Belgian is probably the most mature. Despite being just 24-years-old, he has proved to be a natural leader in the field and a world-class player who can create his own scoring chances and win a match without much help from the rest of the team. Playing as a left-winger or as an attacking midfielder, he is a nightmare for any defender. He’s got stunning pace and technical ability. He’s incredibly fast, and a fantastic goal scorer. Real Madrid know he would be the best choice for the job, and the fact that he is not entirely happy at Chelsea at the moment could facilitate his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu.