It feels a little sinful to be writing this article so soon after the official announcement of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure but let’s be honest, we have already been thinking about the “what if” situation ever since the Juventus rumors began to gain momentum and we need to face the fact that we are currently in the transfer season and there is a lot of work ahead of us.
When thinking about a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, it is laughable to expect anyone to come in and provide the same contributions that the Portuguese has come out with. Therefore, we have to think about it from a different point of view. How can we, as a team, make up for Cristiano’s absence? Here are some ideas:
First, we could take a look at the players that we have in our current squad. The Ronaldo position can be taken up by Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio, Isco, or Lucas Vazquez. Doing that will not only give more playing time to players who have been part of our squad for a while but also keep us true to using some of our own Spanish talent. With someone like Isco moving forward, it makes space for a player with the likes of Dani Ceballos or even Mateo Kovacic to have a place in the center.
Let’s not kid ourselves though, we are lead by Florentino Perez who has not been his usual ruthless self in years and will want to unleash his inner negotiator. Also, do not make the mistake of thinking that one of the reasons the official announcement came out late was not because Perez wanted to have a contingency plan prepared before letting all Madridista’s know that their best player for the past nine years is leaving.
Therefore, I think that it may be safe to assume Real Madrid will be looking at four players:
One of the two players that Real Madrid officially denied interest in was Neymar but there is always a loophole. Just because the statement said that no approach was made to PSG or to the player himself, it doesn’t mean that they will not be approaching him. Therefore, they could have made a bid the second after the announcement was made and there would have been nothing wrong with that. Neymar is a magnificent player and arguably one of the top 3 in the world. The Brazilian would be a great asset to the club and will take his place on the left of the attack seamlessly. He comes with extra baggage though and his reputation was tarnished even further after his dramatic performances at the World Cup. Would that still be something Real Madrid are after?
2. Kylian Mbappe
Easily my personal top choice, Mbappe had the opportunity to come to Real Madrid last season until Florentino Perez decided that it would cost too much for the club and Zinedine Zidane made it clear that the French player was not needed. Now though, the needs have changed and so did the manager. Real Madrid will have to spend big, even more than they would have when Mbappe was at Monaco, but it’s an investment that is definitely worth it. He has continued to raise his price with some exceptional performances at the World Cup, which helped France seal a place in the Final.
3. Eden Hazard
I personally feel like Hazard will be the next arrival at the club and he hasn’t done anything to make us think otherwise. Even though Real Madrid denied approaching Neymar and Mbappe, they have not done the same when it came to the Belgian. Also, Eden Hazard has not attempted to hide the fact that Real Madrid is a very intriguing move and something that he would definitely consider. At some point or another, the Chelsea player will move and it looks like Los Blancos will be his next destination
4. Hirving Lozano
The dark horse in the list, Hirving Lozano had a great World Cup and caught the attention of many. He can play as a striker or left winger and it has been confirmed that Real Madrid are interested in bringing him to the Spanish capital from PSV. Having said that, if they can get Hazard instead, then I do not see a reason why they would get the Mexican as well.
Of course, these are not all the players that Los Merengues are looking at right now but they seem as though they’re the most suitable for what they need. In my opinion, I feel like we should either go for Mbappe or no one at all. Even though I would be very happy with the addition of someone such as Hazard, I simply do not feel like it would be necessary when we still have players in the team who could potentially fill the void.
In the end though, no matter what happens, it is absolutely vital to keep in mind that no one can really replace Cristiano Ronaldo. No one can come up with the moments that he has come up with. With that said, as a collective, we can make up for the numbers that he had. We just need the correct formula to make it work.
We were Real Madrid before Cristiano Ronaldo and, even though it would be foolish to forget him, we will be Real Madrid after Cristiano Ronaldo.