Francois Mori/Associated Press
Real Madrid will reportedly turn to Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe or Chelsea forward Eden Hazard as they seek to replace Cristiano Ronaldo this summer.
After it was confirmed on Tuesday that Ronaldo had joined Juventus, speculation has already started to gather pace as to who may fill the void he’ll leave.
According to Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated, the trio mentioned are all in the frame for Los Blancos. It’s added that key figures at Real have already held talks with Neymar’s father about the possibility of a transfer to Madrid this summer.
“PSG chief executive Nasser Al-Khelaifi has no desire to sell Neymar or Mbappe, but Real Madrid are hopeful that if one of the players decides he wants to make the move—as Ronaldo did on his move to Juventus—the deal will get done,” said Wahl.
Madrid have released statements lately denying media reports that deals had been agreed for Mbappe and Neymar. Elsewhere, it’s been reported by Manu de Juan of AS that Hazard is Real’s “Plan C” behind the PSG pair.
Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
Regardless of who is signed, Ronaldo’s presence will be tough to replicate. A day after his exit was confirmed, Marca paid tribute to how special a player the Portuguese has been for Real:
Marca pay tribute to Cristiano Ronaldo with all 451 goals: “There will never be another like him”
#Juventus #RealMadrid #CR7 #CR7Juve https://t.co/sqBVbCNoAs
The trio linked are all special footballers in their own right, though, and each have the ability to make a massive impact if they were to join Real.
Based on Wahl’s report, it appears talks have already been held with Neymar, that despite the fact he only joined PSG last summer in a world-record deal. While the Brazilian impressed in Paris, speculation was rife about him moving on quickly last term; it was reported by Miguel Delaney of The Independent the forward is unsettled in Paris.
Mbappe also joined the capital club last summer, and after a brilliant campaign he’s been in incredible form for France at the FIFA World Cup, helping the team to the final of the competition.
Football writer Liam Canning believes Madrid may have a big transfer lined up already given they’ve let Ronaldo go:
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
Can’t imagine Real Madrid would let Cristiano Ronaldo, their golden boy, leave without either Neymar or Kylian Mbappé lined up ready to sign. Going to be a crazy few weeks. What a signing for Juventus – Ronaldo’s going to tear up Italy.
Meanwhile, Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe thinks Los Blancos may need to bring in a couple of superstar options if they are going to adequately replace their former No. 7:
Sam Tighe @stighefootball
Ronaldo to Juventus is incredible. It’s good business from one perspective (£105m is a lotta money for a 33 y/o), but how do you replace that many goals? You might need two players to manage it. Lewandowski + Hazard? Mbappe? Neymar?
While Chelsea wouldn’t want to sell Hazard, at this point he feels the most attainable of the three players linked. Not only is his contract set to expire in 2020, the Blues will not play UEFA Champions League football this season and there’s continued uncertainty as to who will be the manager at Stamford Bridge in 2018-19.
Madrid have tended to get their way in the transfer window in recent years, as they have the financial muscle and pulling power to get the players they want. However, you sense even they will have their work cut out to bring Hazard, Neymar or Mbappe in before the window closes.