Who will replace Ronaldo, and where will he end his career?
Philippe Auclair spoke to us about the runners and riders for CR7's shirt12:17 Wednesday 11 July 2018, 12:17 11 Jul 2018
Following yesterday's announcement that Cristiano Ronaldo would be leaving Madrid, a lot of speculation has begun to surround who his potential replacement could be.
Philippe Auclair was on OTB AM discussing who he thought was the most appropriate and likely candidate. The French journalist was asked if it was likely to be Kylian Mbappé or Eden Hazard that would be the Madrid’s next target.
Immediately, Auclair dismissed the idea of Mbappé being the one to take the Portuguese forward's place saying it was impossible following the contract being signed. He went on to say that Hazard was the obvious choice to replace him from the perspective of quality and style.
Auclair did have sources telling him that Hazard is happy at Chelsea so the move may not be as likely as suspected, but he remained convinced that the idea of Mbappé as a replacement was still unlikely, with the expectation that PSG will aim to build the squad around the young star.
The possibility of Neymar returning was also brought up as a possibility but not considered too much.
There are another four names that seem to come up in most debates.
Firstly there’s Paulo Dybala. Dybala may not be one of the top tips but the young Argentinian could potentially go from being Ronaldo's teammate to his newest replacement. The need for Dybala has lessened with Ronaldo contracted to play for Juventus for the next four years. While signing Ronaldo has not removed the possibility of him holding a pivotal role at the club it could mean that he is more expendable. If Madrid chose to approach the striker it could work out for all parties.
Robert Lewandowski appears to be another top quality player that could use a change of pace. After his agent claiming that he was seeking a new challenge, a number of top clubs were linked to him but nothing seemed to materialise. It could be an interesting signing that would suit everyone. If Madrid are looking towards the future, however, Lewandowski may not be the ideal target as he is now 29.
At 24 years of age, Harry Kane could work out if Real want to hold onto the striker long-term. Kane continues to prove himself a top quality goalscorer. With 30 Premier League goals last season and consistently high numbers beforehand, Kane’s prowess can’t be denied. A solid striker like Kane could fit the out and out striker role that Ronaldo has adapted in recent years.
After helping Liverpool reach the Champions League final, Mohamed Salah has put himself out there as one of the best player around. While the likelihood of this transfer does not look great, following a new five year contract at Liverpool, Salah could fit in as the winger Ronaldo used to be as opposed to the striker he has become.
Eoin and Ger also discussed a plan for Ronaldo going forward. Eoin questioned the decision saying "if he wanted some sort of swansong where he could just kick the ball into the net for four or five years then he should have gone to Ligue Un."
Ger believes that Ronaldo future lies in Turin for a couple of years, to then move to PSG and eventually to the MLS to fulfil his destiny...
By Hugh Farrell
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