With shock reports from AS that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is pushing for a transfer at the end of this season, it could be time for president Florentino Perez to get his chequebook out.
The Portugal international will be a near-impossible act to follow at the Bernabeu, but there are still plenty of big names out there who could soften the blow of his departure.
Real are known for their spending power and have long brought in the world’s biggest names, including Ronaldo himself when he joined from Manchester United in 2009 for what was then a world-record £80million fee, as reported by BBC Sport.
So who could be the next to follow in his footsteps? Here’s our recommendation for six players who could be up to the job and who may be realistic targets given recent links with Madrid anyway…
Don Balon recently claimed that Ronaldo was left stunned by Madrid’s eye-watering plans to spend a total of €500million on Neymar’s transfer fee and wages.
The Brazil international is one of the biggest names in world football and would be of the calibre required to take on such an important role at one of the world’s most prestigious clubs.
Another report from Don Balon claimed Neymar was keen on the move to the Bernabeu if he fails to win the Ballon d’Or in the next two seasons with PSG, though he hit out at speculation over his future in an interview last week.
Sky Sports also quoted Sergio Ramos hinting ending up at Real is part of Neymar’s long-term plan, with PSG just a stop-gap as it would have been too controversial to move directly between Barcelona and Madrid.
‘I like to have the best and Neymar is one of them,’ Ramos said. ‘Maybe it was easier for him to go to PSG instead of directly to Real Madrid.
‘I think he’s one of the best in the world, but football goes around a lot and it’s very personal decisions.’
A similar style of goalscoring winger to Ronaldo, Eden Hazard has been linked time and time again with a move from Chelsea to Real Madrid.
MORE: Chelsea transfer news
Recent claims by Don Balon suggested Perez would be keen on bringing in the Belgian if he convinces him with his performances at next summer’s World Cup, with manager Zinedine Zidane a big fan.
Hazard, 26, has also hinted he’d be keen on a move to the Bernabeu recently when discussing the prospect of playing under his ‘idol’ Zidane.
‘Zidane would be a dream to have as a coach, he was my idol when I was little. I have a lot of respect for him,’ Hazard told La Derniere Heure.