Cristiano Ronaldo's continued presence at Real Madrid will reportedly prevent Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski and Juventus' Alvaro Morata from moving to the Santiago Bernabeu as neither wants to compete with the Portuguese superstar.
According to Sport, president Florentino Perez wants to add the pair to the Real squad in the summer, with the lethal Polish striker valued at €80 million (£61.3 million) and Los Blancos graduate Morata available for a €35 million (£27.2 million) buy-back fee.
However, Morata would reportedly rather stay at Juve than warm the bench behind Ronaldo at the Bernabeu and Lewandowski has told people close to him: "If Cristiano is there, I won't go."
The report added that Lewandowski, 27, "fears Ronaldo's selfishness" and that Perez will look to sell the 31-year-old forward in the summer as a result.
That would be a huge call from Perez.
The former Manchester United star has been the focal point of Real's team since he moved to Madrid in 2009.
While he is undoubtedly entering the latter stages of his career, his goal return remains staggering and his influence huge, per BreatheSport:
Ronaldo has now scored 40+ goals in last 6 seasons:— BreatheSport (@BreatheSport) March 8, 2016
15/16: 40* pic.twitter.com/oYLfsfLIrT
However, it might not be the worst idea.
Lewandwoski is four years younger than Ronaldo, is also a prolific goalscorer and is seemingly getting even better—his Bundesliga return of 23 goals this term is just one shy of his career high in the German top flight, and there are still nine games remaining, per WhoScored.com.
See some of his best strikes below:
As noted by Sport's report, he is also much more of a team player than Ronaldo, having worked well among Pep Guardiola's group of stars, and he could be a huge asset as manager Zinedine Zidane looks to build a Real side capable of winning La Liga next season.
Oddly, Real's fans may also not be overly distressed to see Perez sell Ronaldo.
His relationship with the Bernabeu faithful has often been bafflingly strained, and they whistled him on Tuesday night as Real beat Roma 2-0 in the Champions League—with Ronaldo scoring the opener—according to Bleacher Report's Dean Jones:
The final key for Perez might be that he could still get a huge transfer fee for Ronaldo.
Real bought him from United for a then-world-record £80 million fee, and previous reports have suggested they might be able to sell him for "around €120 million (£87 million)," per Jason Burt of the Sunday Telegraph. That would be enough to fund deals for both Morata and Lewandowski.
Should Real sell Ronaldo in the summer?
That estimate is likely unrealistic, but the Madrid outfit could almost certainly make at least enough from Ronaldo's sale to fund the potential €80 million (£61.3 million) purchase of Lewandowski.
Given the former Borussia Dortmund man's relative youth, that would make perfect business sense.
The upcoming summer transfer window could be the last in which Real can do any business until January 2018, as they have the spectre of a FIFA ban hanging over them.
Perez needs to make some big moves to secure future success, and letting Ronaldo go in order to get Lewandowski in would be a big play and could help Los Blancos achieve their goals.