Who Steps in for Cristiano Ronaldo?

Now that Cristiano Ronaldo is gone to Real Madrid, Manchester United need to look for replacements. I’m sure Alex Ferguson knew that Ronaldo leaving was coming sooner or later so he’s probably written down a few names he’d like to see playing for the Red Devils instead of Ronaldo. But can the replacement come from within? We look at Nani, Karim Benzema and Frank Ribery and a few maybe more unlikely names and figure out who’ll be the right man instead of the new most expensive soccer player in the world. Can he even be replaced with just one player?


nani1Image: Source

Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha, or Nani as most people know him. He’s Portuguese, he plays on the right wing, he is a fantastic dribbler… Suitable for replacing Ronaldo, no? ehhh… He can take his place but probably won’t be as productive as Ronaldo. Why?

He just doesn’t score like Ronaldo. He doesn’t have a powerful shot like him and despite also having a knack for shooting the ball at goal at every opportunity he has, Nani has only 4 league goals in 38 appearances since arriving at Old Trafford. That’s the problem with filling the Ronaldo gap – although a Right/Left Wing player on paper, he was much more – a play maker, a striker, a finisher, especially in the last two seasons and replacing his 66 league goals in the last three seasons will be mighty difficult for Nani. Nani is a good player right now with the potential to be a very good one, maybe even excellent, but he won’t produce the numbers his former Sporting Lisbon teammate produced.

Frank Ribery

Frank RiberyImage: Source

In my opinion, the most suitable man to replace Cristiano Ronaldo. The problem is, how much will Bayern ask for him if they are willing to release him at all? The right amount of cash will probably soften some minds.

So why Frank Ribery? Out of all the players out there today, he’ll probably fit perfectly in Ronaldo’s roll on the pitch, that is if Ferguson doesn’t change a thing. Like Ronaldo, Ribery was more of a right wing midfielder earlier in his career but evolved into a much more versatile player in the last 2-3 years and especially since his move from Marseille to Bayern Munich.

He doesn’t have a side, and attacks the goal from left, right and the middle. He’s become much more of a scoring threat (20 league goals in 53 games for Bayern) and likes when everything goes through him.He’s a great passer, has great speed on and off the ball and is no doubt one of the best players in Europe today. Will he adjust to the English game? That’s the bigger question. I think he has it in him.

“The Jewel of French Football”, Zidane once called him. Will he be the jewel in the next United title/trophy?

Karim Benzema

Karim BenzemaImage: Source

Another player that there are quite a few teams keen on acquiring his service, and club owner who’s reluctant to let him go. Karim Benzema, only 21 has already seems to have outgrown the French League, but Lyon doesn’t seem to want to release him, and club president Jean-Michel Aulas put a 100 million Euro price tag on the striker in the beginning of last season.

Why is he the man to replace Ronaldo? Benzema scores goals, and that’s what Ronaldo did best in the past couple of years.Benzema has 37 goals in 72 games the past 2 seasons in the french league. But it’s not only his scoring that makes him such an attractive signing. Benzema was grown into the 4-3-3 style Lyon play, and can perform well on both wings, displaying fantastic speed and dribbling skills and can create goals for other player, not just finish alone.

Ferguson likes players who can play in a number of positions and aren’t defiened and bound by their position’s name, Benzema is that kind of player. Will Benzema be going to United?

The Long Shots – Ricardo Quaresma  – What?! Yeah, it’ll probably never happen, and Quaresma’s stock has dropped like a bomb from a B-52 this season but he’s a Sportige.com favorite since he was 17 in Sporting Lisbon. He’s a better player than Nani and can do magic with his feet and he loves to have the game flow through him. He won’t come to Old Trafford and it seems that his stay in the Big Leagues of Europe (Currently with Inter) is coming to an end but who knows? Maybe Fergie wants to go crazy in his final years and bring on another dribbler who doesn’t want to get rid of the ball and shoots at goal from anywhere? No? yeah, probably not…

Giuseppe Rossi – The American born Italian who played for United’s youth squad is becoming a better and better striker since moving to Spanish Villareal, including earning his first caps with the Italian national team and scoring his first goal for the Azzurri. He can score goals, plays as striker and behind and is only 22. Will it be wise to bring him back to Old Trafford?

Final Verdict – I’d go with Ribery. Nani is good as a replacement and could be a starter on many teams, but he can’t fill Ronaldo’s shoes. Ribery has it all, except maybe a super strong long range shot, but he can still score from afar. Benzema? Something tells me he won’t be as good as people think he’ll be, maybe I’m wrong but I think he’s not the right fit for United. The Spanish League will be much better for him.

Quaresma? If you’d measure a soccer player by the amount of tricks he can do with the ball, Quaresma would be one of the best in the world. But he’s probably a Superstar in Portugal and an average winger in the big leagues. Rossi is worth another look, even as a sub. He looks like the real deal to me. But for now, for immediate success, Ribery is the man.