Real Madrid may have missed out on luring French forward Kylian Mbappe, but the Spanish giants have snapped up Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer and France midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco. The club has also offloaded many veterans including Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco, while Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr remain their main attacking options for the new season.
Benzema had a superb 2021-2022 campaign as he scored 44 goals in 46 games in all competitions and Vinicius enjoyed a breakout season by getting to 22 goals. Also, Benzema is second most prolific scorer for Madrid, only behind former striker Cristiano Ronaldo on the list. Los Blancos haven’t signed a backup forward and when president Florentino Perez was asked about Ronaldo’s return to the club, he responded, “Cristiano? Again? At 38 years old?”. In a viral video, Perez was seen replying to a fan who asked, “president, sign Cristiano” after Real’s 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Super Cup.
Ronaldo is reportedly keen to leave Manchester United in the search for Champions League football. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner missed the pre-season tour of Asia and Australia, with the Red Devils giving him leave for family reasons.
Ronaldo netted 24 times in all competitions but United had a lacklustre campaign as they finished sixth in the Premier League, 35 points behind champion Manchester City.
United on Sunday started the season on a disappointing note as they slumped to a 2-1 home defeat by Brighton & Hove Albion in their Premier League opener. Erik ten Hag left Ronaldo on the bench after he only returned to pre-season training last week. Midfielder Christian Eriksen was deployed as a ‘false nine’, with Ronaldo coming on in the 53rd minute.
“It’s clear to see we were better in the middle with Eriksen back and Ronaldo up front,” said the gaffer after the Portugal star came on eight minutes into the second half.
“If he was available, I would’ve played him. Cristiano is now 10 days in team training. That’s too short for 90 minutes. That’s the reason we didn’t start him.”
“We considered Marcus Rashford as a striker but he had a really good season on the left side and he had two really good chances, but the typical nine wasn’t available today,” he added.