Real Madrid Transfers: Top 7 Cristiano Ronaldo Replacements
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Why did Ronaldo go into the mix zone? It’s a place he generally avoids. He had an issue and he wanted the world to know about it. That’s a red flag.
Russia is a realistic avenue because Ronaldo’s girlfriend, supermodel Irina Shayk, is Russian. Another option is Paris Saint-Germain, home to one of the fashion capitals of the world and the club are also loaded with cash. With regards to Premier League teams, Manchester United should be the only option because of the emotional connection.
For Florentino Pérez to sell Ronaldo, the 65-year-old would also give an alibi for José Mourinho to come back to the Premier League. Fábio Coentrão, who has often been the piñata for the Madrid press, won’t stay. Pepe could also follow suit. The man connected between all these aforementioned Portuguese players is super agent Jorge Mendes.
If Pérez does make the fatal decision to sell Ronaldo, not only does the Spaniard risk prematurely ending his second term, but how can he replace Ronaldo? Here are seven players the Galacticos should pursue under the premise that Ronaldo is sold.
7. André Schürrle, Bayer Leverkusen, Age: 21
Clint Hughes/Getty Images
André Schürrle still hasn't lived up to the hype he garnered with Mainz. Like Miroslav Klose, Schürrle performs better for the German national team than for his club team.
Is Schürrle a wide player? Nope. He's a forward and Bayer Leverkusen bought him as a forward. However, his wonderful dribbling ability plus his link-up play with his teammates naturally see him used out wide.
For a more comprehensive analysis of Schürrle, please read this article.
What about Mario Götze? He'll probably emulate Michael Zorc and Lars Ricken as a one-club man for Borussia Dortmund.
Where's Roberto Firmino? He seems destined to be Brazil's answer to Moussa Dembélé. World-class talent on both sides of the field, but the end product is so disappointing. He isn't producing as a forward, as a centre attacking midfielder, on the left or on the right. Sooner rather than later, he'll be given an extended run in the heart of midfield and don't be surprised if Firmino finds his niche as a box-to-box midfielder.
Julian Draxler? He's a future No. 10.
6. Dries Mertens, PSV Eindhoven, Age: 25
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
If you watched Dries Mertens at Utrecht, no one would have projected that he'd later become one of the most potent players in Europe.
He's a swift dribbler, excellent set-piece taker and is efficient in the final third.
Can he make the transition from the Eredivisie to La Liga? At 25, it's now or never for him.
5. Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur, Age: 23
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Why does Gareth Bale shoot so much? Nine league goals from 136 shots last season is woefully inefficient.
He's so physically gifted that he can run past the large majority of defenders in the world. Instead of being more selfless, he is being more selfish. If he cuts down the shooting, he'd be a threat to accumulate the most assists in Europe.
He's a one-trick pony, albeit a very effective one-trick pony when used correctly—as Maicon found out. 11 November 2012. Mark that date down on your calendar because hopefully it's another taxi for Maicon performance.
4. Kevin-Prince Boateng, AC Milan, Age: 25
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Kevin-Prince Boateng always had the holier-than-thou attitude, but he never backed it up with his performances.
Until, he came to AC Milan.
He's not a natural trequartista, but he gets it done—in style too. Talk about a great fit for a Galáctico.
His fitness has hindered him throughout his career and it's the reason why he's so mercurial. He's had tendonitis, strained his ribs, had issues with fatigue and he recently fractured his hand.
3. Luciano Narsingh, PSV Eindhoven, Age: 22
Jeremain Lens is a good player, but he isn't on the level of Luciano Narsingh. However, it's Lens who is keeping Narsingh out of the PSV Eindhoven starting XI.
Narsingh is one of the quickest footballers in the world and certainly one of the best crossers. He was the primary reason why Bas Dost was so successful with Heerenveen.
An alternative to Narsingh would be Twente's Dusan Tadić, who has been the best player on the field every time I've watched him this season.
Keep an eye on PSV's dynamic 18-year-old Memphis Depay—mazy dribbler, exudes confidence and has star potential.
2. James Rodríguez, Porto, Age: 21
David Ramos/Getty Images
If you don't like James Rodríguez and you haven't watched him, don't comment on him, especially when you're judging him on his stats (which don't stand out) and his transfer value.
Understand this, Porto always jack up the transfer values of their best assets.
If there was a list of the most naturally gifted footballers, James would be on that list. He makes the game look so easy because he just surges past opposing players, who can only stop him by bringing him down.
You look at the game against Olhanense, Luís Filipe was handling Christian Atsu very well and then, the defender's game goes downwards because of James. The 21-year-old also spent parts of the game centrally.
He's technically perfect and tactically flexible, hence why he can play in any attacking position. Give him licence to free roam and he will live up to his vast potential.
Even though the stats say James isn't a world-class player, you cannot deny that he's a world-class talent and his upside is so high that you can only presume he's going up.
Though, the same was said about Ricardo Quaresma.
1. Neymar, Santos, Age: 20
Neymar is the only player on this list that's a lock to score 30+ goals in a European season.
He has an extensive body of work, which is remarkable for a 20-year-old.
He's been in the spotlight for years, so signing for Real Madrid won't shake him. In fact, he'd be a prototypical Real signing.
It's not Real wanting him, the question is: does Neymar want Real? From a logical perspective, if Cristiano Ronaldo leaves, it would be more opportunistic for Neymar to join Real to be the man.
However, he could also sign for Barcelona and play second-fiddle to Lionel Messi, which would make Barça unbeatable, but Neymar won't be the best player in the world.
It's going to be interesting to see in four years where Neymar is and if 16-year-old Victor Andrade can emulate Neymar's achievements. Just a caveat, but I haven't seen Andrade before, so if you have, please comment below about the kid.