Figo: “Ronaldo is irreplaceable for Real Madrid”

MONACO, MONACO - FEBRUARY 18: Laureus Academy Member, Luis Figo at the Nelson Mandela wall during the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards on February 18, 2019 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Christian Alminana/Getty Images for Laureus)

Portuguese legend Luis Figo believes Cristiano Ronaldo is “irreplaceable” for Real Madrid and warned that it will take them time to rebuild their squad once more.

Ronaldo stunned the entire football world last July by ending a glorious nine-year stay at Real in favour of a €112m transfer to Serie A champions Juventus.

The Portuguese forward has since gone to become a hero in the eyes of the Turin faithful after grabbing a hat-trick to secure Juventus a stunning comeback 3-0 victory against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Real saw their historic run of three successive Champions League titles come to a shocking end in humiliating fashion last week by losing the return leg of their last-16 with Ajax 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Los Blancos have since fired Santiago Solari and reappointed Zinedine Zidane as manager, with the Frenchman taking charge of his first official training session earlier today at the club’s Valdebebas base.

But Figo, who spent five years at Real upon completing an infamous €62m transfer from bitter rivals Barcelona in 2000, warned that it will take time for his old club to properly adapt to life without their record scorer Ronaldo due to the difficulty of signing top-talent in the current market.

“Ronaldo is irreplaceable,” Figo told XLSemanal.

“It is logical for teams to need to rebuild when they lose such an important player, but the market is tough because there are not so many chances to buy key players who can help Madrid.”

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The 2000 Ballon d’Or winner is impressed with teenage sensation Vinicius Junior’s rapid progress at Real after only arriving last summer from Brazilian side Flamengo in a €46m deal.

The 18-year-old had been a key member of the Real with former coach Solari frequently selecting him ahead of the club’s record signing Gareth Bale in the line-up before sustaining a knee ligament injury.

“He has been crucial,” said Figo.

“He has such great potential, but I think that due to his age he is lacking precision in front of goal.”

Zidane will take charge of his first game back at Real on Monday in a home match against Celta Vigo in La Liga.

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