How Real Could Line Up Without Ronaldo
How Real Could Line Up Without Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid's record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo has left the Santiago Bernabeu, and the club seems to be struggling to find the perfect successor to their former superstar. Here is how Los Blancos could line up without buying a replacement for the Portuguese.
Click through the gallery above to see how Real could line up without Ronaldo.
Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, who were both high on president Florentino Perez's wish list to replace Ronaldo, have both expressed their loyalty to their current club, but could become available in a year's time.
Eden Hazard is believed to be next in line and, while it initially looked like he would be the obvious choice, Perez is understood to question his marketing appeal, given he will probably need to spend more than €150 million (R2.4 billion) to sign the Chelsea winger.
So could new boss Julen Lopetegui and president Perez decide to start the 2018/19 campaign without replacing Ronaldo? We asked Madrid-based RealTotal editor Nils Kern this question.
"Well, it's impossible to find one player who scores 40-50 goals each season for many years," he told Soccer Laduma (you can read the full interview in this week's newspaper).
"But there are already some players in the club who were either unhappy last year, like Gareth Bale, as he didn't start in big games, or who could not show their maximum yet, like Marco Asensio.
"Along with Bale and Asensio, as well as Julen Lopetegui's favourite, Isco, being more important now, there is also new kid Vinicius Junior to be built up for the future. One more striker and you might have three to five guys who can cover Ronaldo's 40-50 goals between them."
Most of Real's first XI is pretty much set in stone, with the only real question mark being behind goalkeeper Navas, who could still be replaced by Thibaut Courtois.
Dani Carvajal will get competition from new signing Alvaro Odriozola, while the rest of the back four seems a given. Real's central midfield trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will start in most games, while it remains to be seen who will gain Ronaldo's starting spot.
Isco and Marco Asensio are likely to battle it out for that position, with the former seemingly having the upper hand over the latter going into the new season. Gareth Bale is expected to start on the right wing and play a more dominant role, and Karim Benzema is expected to lead the line.
You can read our double feature on Ronaldo's sensational move to Juventus, why he opted to leave and why he chose the Serie A side, in this week's issue of Soccer Laduma, edition 1083.